Skip to main content

Full text of "A martyr, or, A victim of the divorce law [microform] : a novel"

See other formats


1 1 


It  It 


A    MARTYR 


A  MARTYR; 


OR, 


A  VICTIM  OF  THE  DIVORCE  LAW. 


^  ^otocl. 


BT 


ADOLPHE   d'ENNERY. 


Tmtislaled  fro>a  the  French,  hi/  A 

ristide   ""'atreault. 

•    >  • 
•  • 

. ' .  •   '  * 
*  *  1  •  •  •  ' '  * 

•                   •    •     W                            ^                               ft     « 

*        * 

•  '   '  '.  . 

•         •       *         *  - 

^OVtfntO  : 

ROSE 

PUBLISHING 

COMPANY. 

1886. 


'     ■       4  • 


*     fl. 


B.  Q.  a  I 


TO  THE  HEADER. 


-♦-•-♦- 


In  translating  this  work,  of  one  of  the  most  popular 
writers  of  the  day,  my  aim  has  been  chieHy  to  bring 
before  the  readers  a  class  of  novel  which  is  not  usually 
translated  into  English.  Heretofore,  with  few  exceptions* 
the  translators  of  French  novels  seem  to  have  chosen 
only  the  works  of  fiction  of  such  authors  as  Zola  and 
his  disciples,  which,  I  am  happy  to  state,  are  being  rele- 
gated into  the  obscurity  from  which  they  should  never 
have  issued.  There  was  in  their  favor  only  the  attraction 
of  novelty ;  but  the  good  sense  of  the  public  soon  re- 
jected those  pornographic  writings.  The  only  reason 
that  can  be  assigned  for  their  existence  is  the  boast 
which  some  of  those  writers  openly  made,  to  plunge  so 
far  into  obscenity  that  none  would  dare  to  follow  them. 
In  the  minds  of  a  great  many  people  a  French  novel  is 
something  highly  "  spiced  ;"  and  it  has  led  to  the  remark 
I  have  often  been  met  with,  that  in  French  literature  of 
this  kind — novel-writing — there  is  nothing  but  immo- 
rality, to  put  it  in  a  mild  form,  depicted.  The  reader 
who  will  peruse  this  work  in  the  hope  of  finding  such 
condirnents  will  be  sadly  mistaken, 


VI  TO  THE  READER. 

M.  Adolphe  d'Ennery,  the  author  of  this  work,  iH  a 
dramatic  writer  of  fame,  and  his  dramas  are  played  in 
the  great  theatres  of  France  by  great  artists.  When 
asked  to  write  a  novel,  he  refused  at  first,  pleading 
incompetency ;  but  he  was  prevailed  upon  at  last,  and 
the  result  has  been  "A  Martyr,"  a  chef-d'oeuvre.  With 
his  acknowledged  dramatic  talents,  it  is  no  wonder  that 
the  work  should  abound  with  stirring  scenes  of  the 
greatest  effect ;  and  from  the  first  page  to  the  last  the 
reader  is  kept  in  a  state  of  thrilling  excitement.  And 
throughout  the  entire  work,  not  one  word — not  one 
thought — but  is  calculated  to  depict  the  nobler  feelings 
and  instincts  of  human  nature,  written  in  elevated  and 
flowery  language. 

The  only  thing  I  am  conscious  of  is,  that  I  have  been 
unable  to  do  full  justice  to  the  work,  and  that  my  version 
will  be  deficient  in  force.  A^  extenuating  circumstance, 
I  plead  inexperience  (this  being  the  first  translation  of 
the  kind  I  have  ever  attempted),  and  I  hope  the  reader 
will  be  indulgent  enough  to  forgive  me  in  favor  of  my 
good  intentions.  At  first  the  translation  was  not  meant 
to  be  published,  having  been  done  as  a  pastime ;  but  I 
was  induced  to  have  it  printed  by  some  literary  friends, 
who,  I  am  afraid,  were  partial  to  its  merits.  Be  that  as 
it  may,  it  is  in  your  hands  now,  and  I  claim  a  welcome 
for  it,  if  not  for  my  sake,  for  the  sake  of '  the  author. 

My  sincere  thanks  are  due  to  Mr.  Charles  Dedrickson 
of  the  editorial  staff  of  the  Toronto  Mail,  for  his  valu* 


TO  THE   READER.  Vli 

able  hints,  and  corrections  of  idioms.  His  thorough 
knowledge  of  French  enabled  him  to  grasp  the  exact 
meaning  of  the  author,  and  to  give  the  coiTesponding 
meaning  in  the  English  language,  with  which  he  is  no 
less  familiar. 

With  the  hope  of  having  done  something  to  help  you, 
dear  reader,  to  while  away  an  hour  in  ii.^ellectual  enjoy- 
ment, and  at  the  same  time  to  confirm  you  in  the  idea 
that  there  is  still  some  good  left  in  human  nature,  I  leave 
my  work  to  your  kind  appreciation,  being  comforted 
with  the  precept  that,  "il  sera  pardonne  beaticoup  d 
celui  qui  a  beaucoup peclU" 

ARISTIDE  FILIATREAULT. 


A    MARTYR. 


PROLOGUE. 
I. 

HE  story  wliich  we  are  coinmoncing  will  soon  develop  itself 
on  the  Parisian  ocoun,  so  full  of  storms  and  toiup'jats  ;  but 
to  know  its  orif^in  thu  reader  wilt  have  to  go  hundreds,  even 
thousands,  nf  leagues  away. 
Let  us  procoed  first  to  Italy,  to  Naples.  A  noisy  mob  crowded 
the  sidewalks,  and  in  that  crowd  could  bo  seen  a  marvellous  crea- 
ture walking  by  herself,  disdaining  to  answer  the  provocations  of 
the  merchants  and  the  more  interested  ones  of  the  young  men.  She 
was  twenty  years  old  at  the  most,  although  she  looked  oMer.  Her 
costume  was  very  moileat,  even  poor  :  a  linen  dress  and  a  net  of 
imitati<m  lace.  But  under  the  linen,  almost  transparent  with  wear, 
the  body  of  a  goddess  moulded  itself.  It  was  supple,  nervous,  of 
almost  provocating  perfection,  which  owed  ncjthing  of  its  delicacy 
to  the  use  of  the  corset.  And  througiA  the  broken  meshes  of  the 
net,  her  rich  black  hair  fell  upon  her  neck  and  forehead,  throwing 
a  shadow  on  the  tlame  of  her  eyes.  She  was  well  known  on  Toledo 
street,  where  she  was  then,  looking  with  envy  in  the  windows  of 
the  jewellers  and  merchants  ;  and  every  minute  she  was  familiarly 
saluted  with,  '  Good-day,  Gorgon  !  *  This  popularity  left  her  in- 
ditlerent.  She  hardly  ever  answered  the  greetings  she  received. 
She  had  turned  into  the  street  leading  to  the  royal  c  istle  of  Capo- 
dimonte,  at  the  gates  of  the  city.  But  she  soon  left  the  main  street 
and  took  to  the  little  lanes  which  form  a  sort  of  spider's  web  at  the 
foot  of  the  hill.  She  stopped  in  front  of  the  shop  of  a  melon  mer- 
chant, and  looked  around  to  see  if  anybody  had  observed  her.  The 
lane  was  deserted.  She  took  three  or  four  coppers,  wliich  consti- 
tjjted  her  whole  fortune,  out  of  her  pocket,  and  bought  one  of  these 
water-melons  in  which,  as  they  say  in  Naples,  there  is  both  drink- 
ing and  washing  water.  With  this  acquisition  she  turned  into  a 
small  lane  and  entered  an  old  house  which  seemed  to  stand  up 
only  by  a  miracle.  Arrived  at  the  second  story,  she  pushed  a  door 
pen.  Gorgon  was  at  home.  Thi?  apartment  consisted  of  a  room 
with  a  small  closet  or  railier  a  bed-recess,  and  was  at  the  same 
A 


1 1 


10  A  MARTYR. 

time  the  parlor,  the  dining-room,  the  bed-room,  and  the  kitchen. 
The  whole  was  quite  in  accord  with  the  occupant.  In  the  midst  of 
sordid  poverty,  besides  two  or  three  broken  chairs,  on  a  pallet 
whose  only  mattress  was  never  shaken  and  whose  sheets  were  never 
washed,  were  to  be  seen  flashing  tinsels,  white  and  rose-colored 
satin  shoes,  gilded  lace,  short  petticoats  all  tuuibled  up,  garlands 
of  artilicial  flowers,  all  faded.  In  short,  all  the  parapliernalia  of  a 
ballet  girl.  One  thing  only  contrasted  with  the  general  etiect  of 
that  mean  furniture  and  those  scattered  rags.  It  was  a  wooden 
table  laden  with  papers,  briefs,  pens  and  ink.  If  all  the  rest  be- 
longed to  her,  this  table  certainly  did  not.  To  get  acquainted  with 
its  owner,  the  reader  must  follow  Gorgon,  who  opened  the  door  of 
the  recess  with  her  knee. 

'  Peppo  ! '  she  said. 

A  stifled  grunt  was  the  answer.  The  young  girl  remained  on  the 
threshold  of  the  room.  She  could  hardly  go  in,  anyway,  for  a  dirty 
mattress  spread  on  the  floor,  covered  the  whole  of  this  den.  She 
crossed  her  arms,  and  with  indignation,  roused  the  lazy  fellow. 

'  Peppo  ! '  she  repeated,  '  get  up.     It  is  already  ten  o'clock.' 

*  Eh  ?  What  ?  What's  the  matter  ? '  asked  Peppo,  '  is  the  house 
on  fire  ] ' 

*  I  wish  it  was,  and  that  it  would  burn  you  until  the  day  of  judg- 
ment,' said  Gorgon.  'Is  it  not  a  shame?  Ten  o'clock  ;  and  you 
should  be  at  your  office  at  nine  ! ' 

*  Bah  ! '  said  Peppo,  rubbing  his  eyes,  *  I  do  enough  for  the  money 
I  receive.  Sixty  francs  per  month  !  The  salary  will  not  ruin  tlie 
municipality.' 

*  Sixty  francs  per  month  is  not  much  money,  but  it  is  enough  to 
exist  upon,'  said  the  young  girl  with  a  nervous  laugh,  *and  if  you 
should  lose  that  situation,  what  would  become  of  us  ? ' 

'  You  would  return  to  dancing.  The  ballet  corps  of  San  Carlo 
will  always  he  glad  to  have  you.' 

'  Yes,  but  I  will  i;ot  have  it.' 

Duriug  this  time  Peppo  was  getting  up.  He  was  dressing,  unmind- 
ful of  tlie  youug  girl's  presence.  Evidently  these  two  splendid 
beings  did  not  embarrass  each  other.  We  said  these  two  splendid 
beinys.  Peppo  was,  in  fact,  as  handsome  as  Gorgon  was  beautiful. 
Being  brother  and  sister  they  were  very  much  like  each  other,  mo- 
rally and  physically. 

*  So,  theti,'  said  I'eppo,  *  it  is  decided,  you  quit  the  theatre  ?  Per 
Baccho  !  What  stupidity  !  A  beautiful  girl  like  you  !  You  have 
too  much  virtue,  my  dear  !  ' 

Gorgim  shrugged  her  shoulders. 

'  It  is  not  virtue,'  she  said  disdainfully.  '  Only,  all  that  rabble  of 
the  theatres  disgusts  me.  If  I  am  to  make  a  fortune  with  my  beauty, 
it  must  be  by  (jther  means.     Otherwise  1  prefer  my  poverty. 


A   MARTYR.  11 

As  the  reader  can  jadv,'e  by  their  conversation,  Peppo  and  Gorgon, 
were  not  over  scriipulous.  It  must  be  said,  to  their  credit,  that  they 
were  born  and  had  been  raised  in  the  most  deph)rahle  conditions. 
Their  mother,  a  ballet  girl,  had  not  kept  that  purity  of  manners 
which  is  usually  observed  by  the  women  of  her  class  in  Italy.  She 
had  had  all  kinds  of  adventures,  and  her  grtatest  })rotit  had  boon 
the  birth  of  a  son  and  a  daughter,  at  an  interval  of  five  years'  time. 
She  called  her  son  Peppo,  which  means  Joseph,  simply  bocausn  he 
was  born  on  the  day  of  the  fejxst  of  that  saint.  As  to  her  daughter's 
name,  there  was  more  pot-try  in  its  origin.  The  greatest  success  of 
the  dancer  had  been  the  creation  of  a  ballet  called  '  Medusa.'  As 
everybody  knows,  Medusa  is  one  of  the  three  fabulous  (Jorgons.  It 
was  under  this  mythological  costume  that  the  dnucer  made  the  ccm- 
quest  of  a  gallant  captain.  She  was  only  paying  a  debt  of  ijratitude 
to  love  when  she  gave  to  the  beautiful  girl  we  have  just  presented 
to  the  reader  the  name  of  the  character  she  had  tilled  a  year  before 
her  birth.  When  she  died  Peppo  was  ten  years  old,  and  Gorgon 
five.  Instead  of  calling  public  charity  to  their  assistance,  the  little 
bohemians  set  their  wits  to  work  to  glean  a  living  on  tlie  streets, 
like  birds  fallen  from  their  nests.  At  fifteen  years  of  age  Gori^'on 
made  a  debut  at  S;in  Carlo,  the  finest  ami  the  largest  of  theatres 
after  La  Scala.  Born  on  the  boards,  so  to  speak,  tlie  maiden  know 
a  little  of  dancing  from  seeing  and  imitating  others.  Hut  as  she 
had  never  made  any  serious  studies,  she  never  advanced  beyond 
the  rank  ot  a  ballet  girl,  and  it  was  due  to  her  beatity  that  she  ever 
reached  that  title.  The  vanity,  or  rather  the  just  pride,  of  this 
ambitious  girl  was  not  to  be  kept  down  in  such  a  mean  situation  of 
life.  If  she  were  to  fall  she  wanted  to  do  it  gloriously  and  get 
wealthy  on  the  start.  The  occasion  did  not  present  itself  at  San 
Carlo,  and  she  preferred  to  quit  the  theatre  rather  than  submit  to 
the  humiliating  familiarities  of  her  companions.  It  was  eighteen 
months  since  Gorgon  had  taken  that  resolution,  and  as  she  was 
not  earning  anything,  Peppo  had  to  utilize  the  few  talents  he  pos- 
sessed to  eke  out  a  precarious  living  for  both.  The  greatest  of  these 
talents  was  calligraphy.  During  his  leistire  time  he  had  perfected 
himself  in  that  art,  and  he  could  do  nothing  better  than  draw  from 
it  the  resource.'  he  and  his  sister  needed  so  badly. 

In  Italy  municipal  servants  are  poorly  paid,  and  there  are  almost 
always  vacant  situations  in  the  civil  service.  Peppo  took  one  of 
these  situations,  because  he  could  get  nothing  better,  and  became 
clerk  of  the  records. 

He  finished  his  toilet  that  morning  and  commenced  his  breakt'.iMt, 
eating  a  large  slice  of  the  melon.  While  eating,  he  was  listening  to 
her  complaints.  The  promenade  she  had  taken  in  front  of  the 
lii'illiant  stores  of  Toledo  street,  had  awakened  in  her  mind  a  covet- 
ousness  always  ready  to  burst.     Her  misery  appeared  nuna  unen- 


12  A   MARTYR. 

durable  because  fortune  seemed  to  directly  defy  her.  Between  her 
and  the  millions  heaped  up  in  the  windows  under  the  most  alluring 
forms  of  modern  luxury,  there  was  only  the  thickness  of  a  trans- 
parent i,'la93,  and  sho  would  say  to  herself  that  her  bea\ity  and  her 
ambition  would  bo,  when  she  liked,  two  diamonds  hard  enough  to 
cut  the  glass  and  allow  her  to  lay  hands  on  all  the  treasures  which 
actually  tempted  her  uselessly.  Once  that  resolution  taken,  she 
was  sure  of  success.  She  was  sayinsf  all  this  to  her  brother  with  a 
great  V(»lubility  of  language,  expressive  gestures,  and  with  an  auda- 
cious rebelliim  of  voice  and  looks.  These  projects  did  not  scandalize 
Peppo  ;  still  he  made  a  few  oV)jection3,  for  the  sake  of  appearances. 
She  stopped  him. 

'  Do  not  play  such  a  comedy,'  she  said,  brusquely.  '  However, 
listen.  If  it  annoys  you  that  I  should  undertake  to  make  our  for- 
tune, I  give  you  eight  days  to  do  it  in.' 

Peppo  did  not  return  an  answer.  With  a  miserable  pittance  of 
sixty  francs  per  mouth,  what  could  he  do  in  eight  days'  time  ?  He 
merely  shrugged  his  shoulders  atid  opened  the  door,  intending  to  go 
to  his  oHice.  On  the  landing  he  ran  against  a  little  old  man  who 
had  the  strangest  aspect  one  could  imagine. 

*  Ah  ! '  ho  s  lid,  '  t)ur  neighbor,  the  Duke  de  San  Lucca.  Come 
in,  your  excellency.  Perhaps  Gorgon  has  a  slice  of  melon  left  for 
you.' 

And  he  went  away,  leaving  the  old  man  there.  In  spite  of  his 
miserable  aspect  and  ragged  clothes,  the  man  Peppo  had  just 
left  was  a  nobleman,  and  actually  a  duke.  He  was  even  a  duke 
of  very  illustrioug  ancestry.  The  family  to  which  he  belonged 
claimed  to  be  descended  from  St.  Luke,  the  evangelist.  Be  that 
as  it  may,  his  excellency,  the  Duke  de  San  Lucca  had  filled 
the  highest  positions  in  the  gift  of  the  court  oi  the  Two  Sici- 
lies. When  Garibaldi  entered  Naples,  on  the  7th  of  Septem- 
ber, 18G(),  the  duke  was  d  ling  service  in  the  king's  household, 
and  he  followed  that  sovereign  in  his  flight.  On  the  13th  of 
February,  1801,  when  Gaete  was  surrendered,  the  duke  was  the 
last  to  leave  the  citadel.  The  fall  of  the  Bourbons  was  a  fatal  blow 
to  the  old  gentleman  in  every  respect.  The  courtier  of  the  old 
r^jime  could  have,  like  one  of  his  nephews,  trimmed  his  sail  to  the 
new  breeze,  but  he  was  stubboru  and  brave,  and  he  would  not  cap- 
itulate with  his  conscience.  On  the  contrary,  he  clothed  himself  in 
his  ruin  as  the  ancient  philosophers  in  their  tattered  robes.  *  Re- 
volution has  made  me  a  beggar,'  he  declared.  'Then  be>.'gar  I  am, 
and  beggar  1  shall  remain.'  And  to  affirm  his  resolution,  he  looked 
for  the  most  miserable  lodging  that  could  be  foOnd  in  Naples. 
Chance  brought  him  to  the  door  of  a  half-demolished  house,  at  the 
foot  of  the  suburb  of  Capodimonte.  He  rented  on  the  second  story 
a  room,  the  possession  of  which  he  had  to  fight  for  against  the  com- 


1.  ICARTYR.  18 

bined  efTortg  of  the  «un,  the  rain,  and  the  wind.  Then  he  sold  a 
golden  snuff-box,  which  he  had  found  in  a  pocket  of  his  coat,  and 
with  the  proceeds  he  bought  a  splendid  brass  plate,  which  he  nailed 
on  the  door.  On  this  plate  the  engraver  had  inscribed  the  two  fol- 
lowing lines,  very  short,  but  very  significant  : 

His  Excellency  the  Duke  db  San  Lucca, 
Beygar. 

Ndt  satisfied  with  thus  exposing  his  new  profession,  the  old  man 
practised  it  with  ostentation.  The  first  day  he  appeared  on  the 
public  place,  soliciting  alms,  he  had  elegant  clothes,  almost  new. 
The  pedestrians  took  great  delight  in  this  gratuitous  recreation,  and 
in  a  few  minutes  the  duke  had  gathered  twenty  sous.  When  he  had 
that  sum,  M.  de  San  Lucca  made  a  graceful  bow.  declared  that  his 
'■•'  's  w<»rk  was  done  and  that  he  would  be  at  the  same  place  on  the 
next  day.  The  next  day  he  was  there,  and  also  the  following  days. 
When  he  possessed  one  franc,  which  was  all  ho  wanted,  he  returned 
to  his  miserable  room.  Curiosity,  however,  had  given  way  to  in- 
difference, and  sometimes  he  had  to  V>eg  for  manv  hours  before  he 
could  gather  his  pittiuice.  After  a  time  his  clothes  became  nothing 
but  rags,  and  looked  more  like  a  harlequin's  dress  than  any  other 
known  raiment.  His  poor  excellency  led  this  life  for  seventeen 
years.  We  termed  him  an  old  man  on  the  day  when  for  the  first 
time  the  duke  asked  for  charity.  Seventeen  years  later,  he  was  no 
more  an  old  man  ;  he  was  Methusalah  in  person.  He  was  only 
eighty  years  old,  but  he  looked  double  that  age.  His  little  body 
was  dried  up  and  shrivelled.  During  the  last  years  of  his  mendicity, 
the  poor  old  man  had  experienced  some  very  hard  times.  He  be- 
came sick  and  he  could  not  collect  his  daily  receipts.  Several  times 
he  would  have  died  of  hunger  and  fever,  if  Providence  had  not 
brought  to  the  room  next  to  his  the  two  young  and  beautiful  children 
we  are  already  acquainted  with.  Gorgon  and  her  brother  loved  this 
old  man,  and  had,  so  to  speak,  adopted  him.  However  poor  they 
were,  they  were  always  ready  to  share  their  miserable  dinner  with  his 
ruined  excellency.  They  had  shown  him  respect  and  what  was 
still  better  they  had  given  him  affection.  That  was  the  reason  why, 
without  blinding  himself  as  to  tlie  morality  of  his  young  protectors, 
the  duke  had  for  them  a  paternal  affection.  Such  was  the  charac- 
ter who  entered  Gorgon's  room  on  the  day  our  tale  commences. 
At  the  first  glance,  the  duke  perceived  that  some  grave  discussion 
had  just  taken  place  between  his  neighbors,  and  he  interrogated 
Gorgon.  The  pretty  girl  did  not  hesitate  in  the  least  to  acquaint 
him  with  her  revolts  and  her  projects,  JVl.  de  San  Lucca  was  of  an 
age  not  to  be  astonished  at  anything.  So  he  showed  no  surprise 
whatever  on  hearing  the  confession  thus  made  to  him. 


14  A   MARTYR. 

*  Eh  !  eh  !  Gorgonetta  mia,'  he  said  patting  her  cheek  with  his 
bony  lingers.      '  We  have  enoiv^'h  of  this  eating  of  mad  cow  !' 

'  Even  if  there  were  cow  flesh  ! '  answered  the  marveUous  creature 
witli  luunor,  '  I  would  not  care  if  i^  wei"e  mad  or  not.  But  what 
is  to  be  done,  your  excellency  ?  It  is  hard,  when  one  has  teeth 
like  a  iiiousa,  to  have  ncthing  to  put  between  them.' 

*  Corpo  (Ji  Baccho  !  '  the  i^eiitUMnau  swore,  gallantly,  '  in  fact,  your 
teeth  are  sharp  enough  to  crunch  diamonds.  But  it  is  a  sin,  all 
ilie.same,  to  think  that  those  l)eautiful  eyes,  that  splendid  hair, 
and  that  line  figure  shall  become  the  prey  of  some  cad  of  this  petty 
King  oi  Savoy,  who  has  thrown  the  snow  of  his  shoes  on  the  flames 
of  our  old  Vesuvius  !  You  deserve  a  better  fate  than  that,  goddess 
that  you  are  ! ' 

(iorgon  shrugged  her  shoulders  and  said  : 
'  What  can  I  do  ? ' 

However,  alio  had  appreciated  the  compliment,  which  had  soothed 
her  a  little. 

'  It  Would  ve  very  amusing,'  thought  the  duke  aloud. 

*  What]'  Gorgon  asked.  * 
'  Notliing.     An  idea  which  had  entered  my  head. 

The  old  man  stopped,  with  a  queer  smile. 

*  Well,  tell  mo  your  idea.' 

The  duke  did  not  hesitate  long.  Hovever,  he  gave  her  only  half 
of  his  idea. 

*  Do  you  see,'  he  said,  '  there  is  a  thing  which  frightens  me  for 
you  in  the  battle  you  are  about  to  engage  in.' 

*  What  ? ' 

*  The  point  you  start  from  is  too  low.  The  way  to  the  summit 
of  fortune  will  be  long.  You  have  nothing  to  throw  in  the  balance  ; 
no  name,  no  family.' 

'  They  call  me  Gorgon  !  '  said  the  beautiful  girl  with  pride, 

'  Undoubtedly  !  A  surname  I  less  than  nothing  !  you  are  the 
daughter  of  a  whim  and  of  a  fancy,  that's  all.  Have  you  been  even 
baptized  ? ' 

'  My  mother  used  to  burn  tapex's  before  the  madonna  every  even- 
ing of  first  representation.  She  would  not  have  let  me  live  like  a 
slut.' 

'  Very  well,  but  that  is  not  a  very  great  treat  to  off'er  to  your 
lover  who  is  to  be.  You  must  win  your  stripes  in  the  gay  world 
one  by  one  :  and  you  will  wear  out  your  youth  before  you  reach 
the  golden  epaulets.' 

*  I  know  it  well,'  answered  Gorgon,  biting  her  lips  with  rage. 
*  But,  once  more,  how  could  I  help  it  ]' 

'  If,*  answered  the  duke,  '  you  had  a  great  situation  to  sacrifice, 
you  would  enter  into  the  career  of  gallantry  at  the  first  onset,  like 
those  sons  of  a  family  who  obtained  the  rank  of  colonel  while  still 


•   A   MARTYR.  15 

young,  before  this  confounded  revolution.     Ah  !  Diavolo !  if  you 
only  had  a  great  name  to  call  your  beautiful  face  by  ! ' 

*  Yes,  but  1  have  not,'  quietly  answered  the  young  girl.  '  Why 
speak  of  things  which  cannot  exist  I ' 

'How  do  you  know]'  asked  the  duke,  fixing  his  piercing  eyes 
on  Gorgon. 

*  Wliat  do  you  mean,  your  excellency  ?  I  do  not  understand 
you.' 

The  old  man  got  up  and  stood  before  his  companion,  almost  as 
gallantly  as  when  he  was  a  courtier  of  the  king,  and  with  one  arm 
around  his  tattered  hat, 

'  Gorgon,'  ho  said,  bowing  deeply,  '  I  am  only  a  beggar  like  you, 
and  1  am  over  eighty  years  old,  but  I  am  Marquis  de  Corriolo, 
Count  de  Castello,  and  Duke  de  Han  Lucca.  Would  it  please  you 
to  be  countess,  duchess  and  marchioness  ?  Would  it  pleiiso  you 
to  be  my  wife  ? ' 

Gorgon  had  thought  at  first,  because  of  the  solemn  attitude  of 
her  host,  that  he  was  joking,  but  she  understood  by  his  accent  that 
he  wab  in  earnest.  Almost  stunned,  with  the  blood  rushing  to  her 
head,  she  got  up  in  her  turn. 

'  Your  excellency,'  she  said,  with  her  voice  altered,  '  You  would 
not  laugh  at  a  poor  girl  who  has  never  done  you  any  harm.  So,  I 
think  you  are  speaking  in  earnest.  But  1  am  not  the  woman  to 
take  what  you  offer  without  knowing  why.  Tell  me  why  you  want 
to  make  me  a  duchess,  and  I  shall  then  decide  whether  I  ought  to 
accept  or  refuse.' 

There  was  an  immense  pride  in  this  demand  of  a  nameless  girl 
who  was  valuing  her  co-operation  in  an  obscure  bargain.  The  duke 
at  first  would  not  answer  her  question,  except  by  non-committal. 

*  Plague  of  your  pride,'  he  said,  smiling.  '  You  are  beautiful, 
Gorgonetta,  as  no  woman  has  ever  been.  You  have  been  generous 
and  uood  to  the  ruined  old  beggar.  And  you  are  astonished  that 
the  old  beggar  should  reward,  with  the  only  thing  he  possesses,  that 
is  to  say  his  name,  the  beauty  and  kindness  with  which  you  have 
made  his  last  days  happy  ! ' 

'  You  have  no  other  reason  to  offer  ?  * 
'  No  other.' 

*  Then  I  refuse,'  she  said,  proudly. 

The  spectacle  was  very  curious.  On  the  one  hand  the  astonished 
duke  wa9  trying  to  guess  the  motive  of  Gorgon's  refusal,  and  on  the 
other  she  could  not  understand  the  reason  of  so  unexpected  an 
ofler.  These  old  friends,  so  sincerely  devoted  to  each  other,  were 
now  like  two  adversaries.  M.  de  San  Lucca  was  the  first  to  regain 
his  coolness.  He  took  the  young  girl's  hand  and  kissed  it  rever- 
ently.    Then  he  sat  down  and  invited  her  to  follow  his  example. 

'  "Tell  me,'  he  said,  lightly,  *  why  you  refuse  n     proposal  ? ' 

*  Tell  me  first  why  you  make  it  ?  ' 


16  A   MARTYR. 

'  Well,  then,  aino©  you  wish  it,  know,  then,  Gorgon,  that  this 
marritii^e  would  be  the  hjgical  and  natural  consequence  of  the  life  I 
have  led  for  the  past  twenty  years.  Like  all  old  nipn,  I  have  be- 
come very  indifferent  to  me'i  ;ind  things.  1  would  not  do  anymore 
harm  to  a  revolutionist  than  to  a  fly.  But  there  are  8onie  who  are 
not  included  in  this  inditiereiioe,  and  on  whom  I  should  like  to 
play  af^ood  joke  before  I  die.  'Iheseare  my  own  parents,  who  wear 
my  name,  and  who,  having  enjoyed  the  benefits  and  favors  of  the 
dethroned  family,  have  sacrificed  gratitude  to  their  ambition  and  their 
cupidity.  J  blush  to  see  at  the  court  of  the  new  king  a  duke  and  a 
duchess  do  San  Lucca,  grand-children  of  the  brother  I  have  lest.  I 
am  asliamed  of  their  cowardice  .and  baseness.  My  greatest  pleasure 
would  be  to  humiliate  them  as  they  have  humiliated  me.  This  in- 
tention has  guided  my  life  thus  far.  I  have  displayed  my  misery 
to  the  world,  and  1  have  shown  a  noble dukn  de  h'an  Luccii,  begging 
in  the  streets,  at  the  door  of  the  palace  of  his  relatives,  who  have 
become  traitors.  To-day  I  find  the  means  of  dding  even  more,  and 
I  improve  the  occasion.  There  is,  I  have  already  told  you,  a  duchess 
of  my  name  at  the  new  court  of  Italy.  \Vt;ll,  I  wish  that  an- 
otlier  duclnss,  bearing  my  naiue  also,  should  go  and  scandalize  that 
name,  and  cover  it  with  another  kind  of  nlianie.  In  the  theatres, 
at  the  Corso,  everywhere  the  crowd  sees,  judges  and  peer-s,  I  wish 
to  ste  two  duchesses  de  San  Lucca  face  to  face,  and  the  people  hesi- 
tating which  of  the  two  is  the  more  unworthy  of  tlie  title,  the  one  who 
makes  a  trade  of  her  beauty  or  the  one  who  traffics  with  the  fideli- 
ty of  lur  ancestors.  Go,  Gorgon,  take  boldly  the  name  that  I 
oft'er  you,  with  which  to  enter  on  that  new  life.  Make  it  the  step- 
ping-stone of  your  fortune.  You  cai  not  S(nl  it  enough,  to  my  defire, 
since  1  hold  it  as  the  most  contemptible  of  all  Italy  ! ' 

The  duke  underwent  a  change  while  ei»t.'aking  these  words.  At 
first  he  had  conceived  this  project  <jf  niarriage  as  if  actuated  by  his 
fondness  for  joking.  But  little  by  little  the  light  comedy  had 
turned  to  heavy  drama,  and  the  noble  old  parent  had  assumed  the 
tone  and  manners  of  a  hero  of  tfjigedy.  Ho  almost  rose  to  the  sub- 
lime of  the  art  in  his  imprecations  against  the  parents  whom  he 
desjiised.  Only  his  anger  overreached  its  object  and  made  the 
proud  girl  understand  too  well  the  indignity  of  the  role  slie  was 
asked  to  assume.  A  less  ntjble  woman  would  have  accepted  the 
bargain,  (jorgon,  who  was  proud  even  in  her  weaknesses  and  her 
vices,  still  refused. 

*  Seek  another  to  accomplish  your  project,'  she  said,  boldly.  '  I 
am  not  the  tool  you  are  in  need  of.' 

'But—'  . 

*  If  I  were  wearing  your  name.*  she  said,  with  intense  feeling,  *  do 
you  know  what  I  would  do  with  it  ?  I  would  use  it  to  elevate,  not 
to  lower  myself.     I  would  perhaps  strike  with  it,  but  I  would  not 


A  MARTYR.  17 

trail  it  in  the  muri.  Keep  your  name  for  youiself,  your  excellency  ; 
since  that  is  the  use  you  want  me  to  make  of  it,  it  would  no  longer 
be  worthy  of  mc.  The  lost  woman  which  I  shall  become  will  de- 
strve  some  exc\isp,  being  only  Gorgon.  She  will  onlv  return  where 
she  came  from.  She  will  be  what  her  mother  was.  'But  if  she  were 
the  Duchess  de  San  Lucca,  she  would  be  infamous  and  worthless  ; 
nay,  she  would  be  sacrilegious  ! ' 

Her  vehemeijce  subdued  the  old  man.  In  spite  of  himself  he 
compared  his  own  conduct  with  that  of  this  adventuress,  the 
daughter  of  an  adventuress,  whose  every  word  struck  him,  a  (hike, 
the  son  of  a  duke,  and  he  understood  that  even  in  the  most  de- 
praved souls  tliere  are  sometimes  found  sublime  princples.  The 
girl  who  stood  before  him  was  going  to  plunge  without  a  blush  ii  to 
an  infamous  life,  and  still  one  word  was  enouLjh  to  arouse  generous 
sentiments  in  her  heart.  As  Ciorgf)n,  she  would  wallow  without  re- 
morse in  the  mire,  \'  suddenly  become  duchess  de  San  Lucca, 
she  would  conquer  tb  world  instead  of  serving  it.  In  his  admira- 
tion, he  felt  asliamea,  and  he  humbled  himself. 

'Gcgou,'  he  said,  softly,  'Gorgon,  you  have  just  accomplished 
a  miracle,  and  I  thank  you.  You  have  cmsed  mo  to  return  to  my 
senses  and  made  me  understand,  in  a  single  moment,  the  error  of 
my  whole  life.' 

Then  he  folded  the  young  girl  in  his  arms  and  kissed  her  as  if  she 
had  been  his  daughter.  He  left  her  and  went  to  his  own  room, 
where  he  threw  himself  on  his  miserable  bed,  his  mind  deeply  en- 
grossed, and  his  body  aching. 

Let  us  leave  him,  a  prey  to  the  bitter  regrets  of  his  Ri)litiide, 
making  the  painful  examination  of  his  conscience,  to  which  he  had 
condemned  himself  at  this  late  hour  of  his  life,  and  let  us  return  to 
Gorgon.  Already  the  flame  which  had  been  flashing  for  a  moment 
in  that  magnificent  statue  was  extinguished.  One  would  have  said 
that  nothing  unexpected  had  crossed  her  projects  of  corruption.  On 
the  contrary,  she  returned  to  them  with  avidity,  her  soul  serene 
and  tranquil.  As  she  did  not  expect  that  during  the  eight  days  she 
had  accorded  to  her  brother,  Peppo  wou'd  realize  the  fortune  she 
coveted,  she  was  getting  ready  for  the  fray. 

Her  mcjdest  wardrobe  was  spread  over  the  mattress.  It  was 
chiefly  with  the  remains  of  her  old  costumes  thit  Gorgon  tried  to 
make  a  dress  which  would  be  pretty  neaily  worthy  of  her  beauty. 
She  made  a  bundle  of  what  ould  not  be  utilized  and  took  it  to  a 
second-hand  dealer,  who  agreed  to  give  her  twenty  francs.  It  was 
certainly  very  little,  but  she  had  not  possessed  such  a  sum  for  a 
long  time,  and  the  contact  of  the  gold  piece  caused  her  a  shiver. 
She  had  been  in  only  a  few  minutes  when  Peppo  arrived  in  his 
turn. 

*  Why  !  already  ? '  cried  the  young  girl.    *  The  bell  has  not  struck 


18  A   MARTYR. 

three  yet.     Ah  !  catli^u,  you  sht'uld  not  rob  the  government  in  such 
a  shameful  way. ' 

The  chief  of  the  bureau  of  rvjcords  did  not  answer.  He  merely 
pushed  the  door  and  locked  it,  as  if  afraid  that  somebody  wo.  Id 
come  in  : 

*  What's  the  matter  ?'  asked  Gorgon,  astonished  at  this  unusual 
display  of  precaution,   '  One  would  think  you  are  afraid  of  robbers.' 

*Peihaps,'  simply  answered  Peppo,  who  was  very  palo,  deposit- 
ing on  the  table  a  pocket-book  filled  with  papers. 

'  Ah  !  poreri !  I  would  pity  them.  What  could  they  take  here  ? 
However  !  here  !  Peppo  !  look  I  Hero  are  twenty  francs  I  brought 
here  a  minute  .ago.' 

'And  I,'  said  the  young  man  in  a  subdued  tone,  piilti'ig  his  hand 
on  his  pocket-book,  '  I  bring  you  twenty  millions  in  my  turn,' 

'  Twenty  millions  ! ' 

Gorgon  repeated  these  two  words  in  a  shriek.  All  her  covet- 
ousness  and  her  appetites  for  pleasure  and  luxuries  came  to  her 
lips.  She  wanted  to  tell  Peppo  all  she  was  going  to  have.  Some- 
thing like  the  bark  of  a  dog  in  pursuit  of  its  prey  died  in  her  throat. 

'  Twenty  millions  !  twenty  millions  ! '  she  repeated  again  and 
again,  shuddering.  *  Show  them  to  me,  let  me  see  them.  I  want 
to  know  what  twenty  millions  are  like  ! ' 

*  Shut  up  !'  said  Peppo,  seizing  her  abruptly  by  the  arm,  to  pre- 
vent her  falling  into  hysterics.  *  Do  you  want  to  bring  all  the 
people  in  the  street  up  here  ? ' 

'  Show  them  to  me,'  she  said  in  a  lower  tone.  *  Are  the  twenty 
millions  in  that  pocket-book  ? ' 

She  tore  the  bundle  open,  taking  the  papers  which  it  contained 
and  scattering  them  about. 

'  Where  is  the  money  ] '  she  said,  in  a  strangled  voice. 

As  she  found  only  old  pajiers,  almost  illegible,  or  files  of  judicial 
documents,  she  took  friglit  and  thought  her  brother  was  making 
fun  of  her. 

*  Ah  ! '  she  said  grinding  her  teeth,  '  Have  a  care  I  If  you  have 
deceived  me,  I  think  1  shall  kill  you  !' 

She  fell  exhausted  on  a  chair.  Peppo  availed  himself  of  her 
momentary  weakness  and  drew  near  to  her. 

*  Listen,'  he  said,  in  a  low  voice  almost  in  her  ear.  '  The  twenty 
millions  are  there,  but  like  gold,  they  are  buried  deep  under  the 
earth.     They  are  there,  only  we  must  dig  deeply  to  take  them. 

Gorgon  shook  herself  as  if  awakening  from  a  dream. 
'  Come,'  she  said.     '  I  do  not  understand.     Explain  yourself.' 
The  young  man  commenced  a  long  recital,  lengthened  involun- 
tarily by  Gorgon  asking  a  thousand  questions  and  making  him  repeat 
the  same  things  twenty  times  over. 


A   MARTYR.  19 

Three  moiitha  before  the  day  when  our  readers  have  aeen  Peppo 
gettin^f  up  so  lazily  in  his  djn,  an  important  communication  had 
been  addruaaed  to  the  cliiof  of  the  bureau  of  municipal  roconls,  at 
Naples.  The  chief  of  the  bureau,  tliat  is  to  say  I'eppo  luiiiaulf,  had 
received  the  communication,  and  had  atteudod  to  it.  It  was  to  the 
following  etFect  : 

A  business  man  of  Paris  had  written  to  the  municipJil  authorities 
at  Naples,  to  acquaint  them  with  the  fact  that  he  had  been  called  on 
to  liquidate  the  estate  of  a  wealthy  banker  who  had  died  recently. 
This  banker,  whoao  name  was  Giacomo  Palmori,  had  left  a  will  in 
which  ho  had  eatibliahed  his  origin  very  clearly,  and  by  which  he 
also  disposed  of  his  inimense  wealth.  Giacomo  Palmeri  bi-longed  to 
a  poor  Neapolitan  f.imily,  and  at  twenty  years  of  ago  he  was  the 
only  representative  of  the  family  with  a  younger  brother,  whose 
name  was  Antonio  Palmeri.  Tired  of  eking  out  a  minerable  exist- 
ence, Giacomo  and  Antonio  resfdved  to  expatriate  themselves  and 
tempt  fortune  in  far-otf  countries.  At  first  they  decided  to  conquer 
the  golden  tlceca  together,  but  they  soon  dissolved  partnership. 
They  could  not  agree  on  the  choice  of  the  country  wlu>re  they  wore 
most  likely  to  win  their  fortune.  Giacomo  wanted  to  remain  in 
Europe,  while  Antonio  contended  for  going  to  Asia  or  America,  he 
did  not  exactly  care  which.  To  settle  the  dispute  they  resolved  to 
cast  lota,  and  to  this  etiect  they  put  in  a  liat  a  number  of  small 
pieces  of  paper,  on  each  one  of  which  was  written  the  name  of  a 
city  or  country.  After  these  preparations  the  drawing  of  the  lot- 
tery commenced.  Antonio  put  his  l:and  in  the  hat  fur  his  brother 
and  took  out  the  word  France.  Giacomo  *did  the  same  thing  for 
Antonio,  and  brought  out  the  words  British  Indit. 

Giacomo  Palmeri  had  gone  to  Paris  where  heamasacd  an  immense 
fortune  in  the  banking  busiiieaa,  and  lie  had  given  himself  up  so 
entirely  to  questions  of  tinanco,  that  nothing  else  could  interest  or 
seduce  him.  He  had  never  liad  enough  leisure  to  marry,  so  that, 
used  up  by  incessant  labors  and  by  the  excitement  incidental  to  the 
Bourse  and  the  Bank,  he  ft  U  sick  one  fine  day  and  never  got  better. 
By  his  will  he  left  his  whole  fortune  to  this  brother,  and  in  the  "-ase 
of  his  death,  to  his  widow  and  orphans. 

Such  were  the  circumstances  under  which  an  otlioial  letter  has 
been  received  by  the  municipal  authorities  of  Naples.  Although 
he  saw  nothing  but  an  increase  of  labor  in  this  adventure,  Peppo 
took  a  lively  interest  in  the  study  of  this  document  of  the  Parisian 
business  man.  Having  acknowledged  the  receipt  of  the  epistle,  he 
wrote  directly  to  the  Italian  consul  at  Calcutta  asking  him  to  send 
him  ail  the  information  and  documents  he  could  gather  on  the  sub- 
ject. Having  written  a  letter  to  the  consul,  signed  with  his  own 
name,  by  power  from  the  mayor,  he  thouj^ht  no  more  of  the  mat- 
ter. 


20  i.^'marttr. 

These  events  had  taken  place  three  months  before  we  commenced 
our  tale,  and  since  then  nothing  had  transpired  to  recall  their  re- 
membrance to  Peppo's  rnind,  except  a  letter  from  the  agent  in  Paris 
asking  him  how  far  the  researches  had  been  successful,  f^eppo  had 
written  that  tlie  answer  ot  the  consul  would  bo  transmitted  as  soon 
as  received.  Such  was  the  tale,  or  rather  the  story,  which  Peppo 
narrated  to  his  sister.  From  time  to  time  Gorgon  would  interrupt 
him  with  a  violent  harshness  of  language. 

'  But  the  twenty  millions  !  '  she  would  ask.  *  Where  are  the 
twenty  millions  you  have  promised  me  ?  ' 

Peppo  did  not  allow  himself  to  be  diverted  from  the  logic  of 
his  narrative.  He  continued  it  as  if  he  were  making  an  official  re- 
port. One  would  have  thought  that  he  delighted  in  exciting  the 
anxious  curiosity  of  the  young  girl. 

'  The  twenty  millions  ! '  he  said  at  last,  tired  of  playing  with  the 
fever  and  anguish  of  Gorgon.  *  Have  patience  I  we  are  getting  to 
them  ! ' 

Peppo  had  good  reasons  to  ask  his  sister  to  have  patience  ;  here 
was  nearly  exhausted. 

'  Go  <»n  !  go  on  ! '  she  said. 

'Well,'  continued  the  young  man,  *  the  answer  of  the  Italian 
consul  at  Calcutta  arrived  this  morning,  and  it  contained  the  papers 
that  you  see  there.' 

'  VVhat  do  these  papers  say  V 

*  First  you  must  know  that  the  functions  of  the  Italian  consulate 
at  Calcutta  are  exercised  by  an  English  trader,  as  is  the  case  in 
nearly  all  the  countries  in  which  we  are  represented.' 

'  Then  these  papers  that  you  have  brought  are  written  in  Eng- 
lish ? ' 

*  No,  in  the  present  case  the  documents  and  the  letter  are  written 
in  good  Italian.  The  signature  of  the  consul  alone  betrays  an 
English  hand.' 

'  But  these  documents,  this  letter,  what  do  they  say  ?  Have  you 
sworn  to  make  me  die  ? ' 

*  Have  patience  !  I  tell  you.  The  letter  says  that  Antonio  Pal- 
nieii  and  his  wife  indeed  lived  in  Calcutta  together,  and  that  they 
were  married  in  the  offices  of  the  consulate.  They  had  also  two 
children,  .^nnibal  and  Claudia,  whose  births  have  been  duly  regis- 
tered. The  letter  adds  that  the  poor  devils  are  no  more  in  this 
world.' 

'  Who  !     Antonio  and  his  wife  ? ' 

'  Antonio,  his  wife  and  their  two  children  !     The  four  of  them 
died  within  a  few  hours'  time  from  an  epidemic  of  cholera.' 
'  Thai's  horrible  ! ' 

*  Not  at  all  !  that'*  charming! ' 

*  How  ? ' 


▲   MARTYR.  21 

*  This  enormoui  enrelope  which  I  have  brought  from  the  office, 
and  which  has  been  sent  directly  to  my  addres,  as  you  see,  this 
envelope,  I  say,  contains  : 

'  Ist.  The  certificate  of  marriage  of  Antonio  Palmori  with  Nissa 
Alessandri  ;  2nd,  The  certificate  of  the  birth  of  Annibal  Palmeri, 
and  that  of  Claudia  Palmeri  ;  3rd,  The  certificate  of  death  of  the 
father  and  mother  ;  4th,  The  certificate  of  death  of  each  of  the  two 
children.  In  all  seven  documents  absolutely  regular,  and  as  authen- 
tic as  they  can  be.' 

*  Then  the  twenty  millions  will  be  given  to  the  state,  since  the 
natural  heirs  are  dead  ? ' 

'Certainly,  unless  we  stop  them  on  their  way.' 
Gorgon  looked  at  her  brother,  asking  herself  if  he  had  not  become 
crazy. 

'  Explain  what  you  mean,'  she  muttered. 

*  It  is  the  simplest  thing  in  the  world,  like  all  ideas  of  genius. 
You  shall  see.  Let  us  suppose  that  the  children  of  Antonio  Pal- 
meri and  Niasa  Alexandri  are  not  dead,  and  that,  consequently,  the 
certificate  of  their  decease  are  not  among  the  deeds  that  are  there  ; 
let  us  suppose  that  they  come  tf)  the  bureau  of  records  and  claim 
these  deeds  which  prove  their  identity  and  the  decease  of  their 
father  and  mothev,  let  us  suppose  that,  armed  with  those  deeds, 
they  insist  upon  their  right  to  be  put  in  possession  of  the  estate  of 
Giacomo  Palmeri,  what  would  happen  ? ' 

'  It  would  happen  that  they  would  get  the  twenty  millions  ; 
there  is  no  doubt  of  that.  Unluckily  for  them,  the  children  of 
Antonio  Palmeri  are  dead  ! ' 

*  However,  let  us  further  suppose  that  I,  Peppo,  am  Annibal  Pal- 
meri, and  that  you,  Gorgon,  are  Claudia  Palmeri,  my  sister.  Who 
can  contradict  us,  after  all  ? ' 

*  All  Naples  know  who  we  are  ! ' 

'All  Naples,  yes'J  but  all  Paris,  no  !  And  at  Paris,  where  the 
estate  is  to  be  transferred  to  the  heirs,  nobody  knows,  or  even  has 
any  doubts  of  our  existence. ' 

*  Come  !  let  us  see  !  '  said  Gorgon,  trying  to  put  a  little  order  in 
the  chaos  in  which  this  project  had  thrown  her  mind,  '  If  I  under- 
stand you  rightly,  your  plan  is  to  substitute  oilrselves  for  the 
children  of  Palmeri,  and  to  inherit  in  their  place  ?  * 

*  Yea,  simply.' 

*  But  that's  a  robbery  ? ' 

*  Oh  !  '  said  the  municipal  employ6,  disdainfully,  *  it  is  a  robbery, 
if  you  wish  to  call  it  so.  It  injures  nobody,  for  in  case  the  heirs  of 
Giacomo  cannot  be  found,  the  state  will  inherit  in  their  place.  And 
you  know  very  well  that  to  rcb  the  state  is  to  rob  nobody.' 

Gorgon's  moral  principles  were  not  serious  enough  to  rectify  what 
was  so  dishonest  and  subversive  in  this  allegation  of  her  brother. 


22  A   MARTYR. 

On  the  contrary.  This  taken  for  granted,  Peppo's  reasoning  did 
not  tickle  }ior  conscience  at  all.  It  was  a  strange  anomaly  on  her 
part.  A  few  niitiutes  before,  the  prond  girl  had  been  indigiiant  at 
the  proposition  of  the  Duke  do  San  Liiccii  ;  the  action  ho  wanted  her 
to  commit  was  not  in  itaolf  a  crime,  it  was  only  low.  And  so«>ner 
than  b  J  gnilty  of  that  basonuss,  she  had  refnsed,  sho,  the  niiujcless 
cliild,  one  of  the  noblest  ducal  crowns  of  Italy,  \N  hilst  now  she  did 
not  think  that  itwas  a  criminal  action  in  tlu)  highest  di'^roe,  to  steal  a 
fortinio  which  did  not  belong  to  her.  Wo  have  said  it  was  a  strange 
anomaly,  and  still,  underHtanding  the  character  of  the  woman,  it 
was  easily  explained.  Only  one  poiut  was  obscure  in  (iorgon's 
mind,  or  rather  oidy  one  fear  made  her  doubtful  of  the  successful 
issue  of  this  gigantic  project. 

*  Come  now,'  said  her  brother,  *  I  can  see  by  your  faw,  that  you 
are  not  yet  satiatied.' 

'  No.  1  have  a  misgiving  yet.  Let  us  suppose  that  we  have 
dime  all  you  have  said.  We  have  taken  all  the  pa[iers  of  the  Palm  jri ; 
we  have  gone  to  PVance  ;  then  the  gentleman  who  has  the  care  of 
the  estate  will  perhaps  say  :  *'  The  papers,  very  well.  These  are 
the  necessary  papers.  But  it  is  not  proven  that  they  belong  to 
you.  You  might  have  found  them,  or  perhaps  st(  len  Ihem."  And 
then  there  would  be  an  enijuiry,  and  instead  of  inheriting  twenty 
millions,  we  should  be  put,  Peppo  and  Oorgon  as  heretofore,  for  a 
few  years  in  a  prison.' 

Peppo  had  a  benevolent  smile. 

'Artless  child!'  he  said,  'you  have  not  enough  confidence  in 
your  brother.' 

'  Then  you  do  not  believe  in  the  danger  which  I  have  just  pointed 
out.' 

*  Very  little.  But  still  as  that  danger  exists,  I  have  managed  so 
as  to  set  if  aside.' 

*  How  did  you  do  that  ? ' 

*  Look  !     What  do  you  call  these  two  pieces  of  paper  ? ' 

*  These  are  passports.  That  is  to  say  blanks  which  would  be  pass- 
ports if  they  were  filled  in  and  if  they  bore  the  sii^nature  ot  the 
prefect.  But  they  are  worthless,  since  they  are  neither  filled  nor 
signed.' 

*  Well,'  modestly  answered  Peppo,  '  in  a  minute  I  can  give  them 
all  the  virtues  which  they  lack.  Follow  me  in  the  little  work  1  am 
going  to  undertake.' 

And  sitting  down  at  the  table,  Peppo,  the  clever  calligrapher, 
commenced  to  manufacture  passports  in  which  their  descripticm 
was  given  very  accurately,  under  the  names  of -Annibal  and  Claudia 
Palmeri.  When  he  had  only  the  signature  of  the  prefect  to  afKx 
at  the  foot  of  the  two  forged  passports,  the  municipal  employe 
took  out  of  his  pocket  a  ministerial  paper  on  which  was  the  signature 


I 


A   MAllTYU.  28 

he  wanted  for  a  model.  With  prodii^ious  ability  Peppo  copied  the 
name  and  the  tlourish  nt  the  prefect. 

'  There  ! '  siiid  ho  to  liia  Hister,   What  do  you  think  of  this  ? ' 

'  Oh  ! '  cried  the  young  girl,  '  it  is  Rplendid  ! ' 

And  in  fact,  in  comparing  the  tw.)  signatures,  it  was  impossible 
to  tell  the  forgiid  from  the  true  one. 

*  And  now,'  askid  (Jorgon,  *  wliat  shall  we  do  ? ' 

'  We  will  take,  with  these  two  pa33i)orts,  all  the  pai)t'rs  which 
have  l>eeu  sent  from  Calcutta,  excepting,  however,  the  certilicates 
of  our  diceaso,  which  will  make  a  bonfire  in  honor  of  our  new 
fortune.     Give  me  a  match.' 

A  minute  later,  a  pinch  of  ashes  was  all  that  remained  of  the 
comi)romi8ing  documents. 

'  And  then,  then  ?  *  insisted  (iorgon. 

'Then  I  1  shall  write  to  the  French  business  man,  in  my  own 
handwriting,  and  in  my  capacity  as  chi«!f  of  tlie  bureau  of  records, 
to  actjuaint  him  with  the  early  arrival  in  Paris  of  M.  Annibal  and 
Mile.  Claudia  Palmeri,  provided  with  all  the  documents  establish- 
ing their  identity. 

'  And  we  leave  ? ' 

'  In  eight  days,  if  you  wish  !  and  then  the  twenty  millions  and 
the  name  of  the  Palmeri  will  be  ours.' 

In  spite  of  the  magical  horizons  thrown  open  before  her  by  the 
project,  (iorgon  was  still  hesitating.  The  last  words  of  her  brother 
caused  her  to  pout  disdainfully. 

'  Oh  !  '  she  said,  '  the  millions  of  the  Palmeri,  well  and  good  ! 
But  their  name  ! ' 

'  It  is  not  to  your  taste  !  Faith,  I  am  satisfied  with  it.  Every- 
body cannot  have  the  name  and  the  title  of  the  Duke  de  San 
Lucca  ! ' 

'  How  do  you  know  ? '  abruptly  said  the  young  girl. 

Peppo  looked  at  his  sister  with  curiosity. 

'  Well,'  said  Gorgon,  '  what's  the  matter  ?  Is  there  anything 
very  astonishing  in  what  I  am  telling  you  I  Do  you  think  a  woman 
like  me  is  not  worthy  of  a  ducal  crown  / ' 

'  Oh  ! '  he  said  gallantly.'  you  deserve  the  crown  of  an  empress. 
The  only  difficulty  in  the  way  is  to  find  the  duke  or  the  emperor 
who  will  consent  to  offer  it  to  you.' 

*  That's  what  the  DuLe  de  San  Lucca  has  done,  no  later  than  two 
hours  ago. ' 

'  Oh  !  the  worthy  man  !  and  I  hope  you  jumped  at  his  oflFer.' 

'  No,  I  have  refused  ! ' 

'  Yoii  have  refused  !  Then  you  are  more  foolish  than  I  thought 
you  were  !  ' 

And  saying  these  words,  he  was  almost  threatening  his  sister  witl\ 
his  fist.     Jiut  all  at  once  he  became  calmer. 


24  A   MARTYR. 

'In  fact,'  he  said,  *  it  is  as  well  that  you  have  refused.  With 
the  twenty  millions  we  are  going  to  have,  a  title  more  or  less  does 
not  make  much  difference.  Decidedly  everything  is  for  the  best 
in  the  best  of  all  possible  worlds.' 

'  I  have  refused,'  said  Gorijon,  'but  I  have  changed  my  mind, 
and  I  am  going  to  tell  the  Duke  de  San  Lucca  that  I  accept  his 
offer  of  marriage.' 

'  You  have  changed  your  mind  again  ?  And  why  this  tomfoolery  ? ' 

'  You  ehall  know.     Listen.' 

In  her  turn  the  beautiful  girl  narrated  to  Peppo  the  interview 
she  had  had  with  the  duke,  and  why  she  had  repulsed  his  proposal. 

'  But  now,'  she  continued,  '  these  reasons  do  not  exist ;  the  title 
I  declined,  because  I  would  not  drag  it  in  the  mire,  I  now  desire 
that  I  may  give  it  more  lustre  than  it  ever  had.' 

Peppo  was  thinking. 

*  Provided,'  he  said,  '  that  our  old  comrade  does  not  change  his 
mind  in  his  turn.' 

Gorgon  had  a  smile  of  superb  confidence. 

'  Cdine  with  me,'  she  said  '  and  you  will  see.' 

They  crossed  the  landing  and  after  having  uselessly  knocked, 
entered  the  room  of  their  neighbor.  M.  de  San  Lucca  was  lying 
on  his  pallet,  with  his  eyes  wide  open. 

'  There  is  a  queer  look  about  him,'  said  Peppo  in  a  low  voice. 
*  I  have  seen  people  on  the  point  of  death,  and  they  looked  like 
him.' 

Gorgon  put  her  hand  softly  on  the  shoulders  of  the  old  man, 

'Ah  !  it  is  you,  little  one,'  he  said  painfully,  '  I  am  very  glad  to 
see  you,  and  also  your  brother.' 

He  made  an  effort,  and  raised  himself  up,  leaning  on  his  arm. 

'  I  was  telling  you  a  minute  ago,'  he  said,  '  that  my  days  were 
numbered.  Now  I  feel  that  they  have  been  turned  into  hours.  If 
you  had  accepted  my  offer,  Gorgon,  you  would  soon  be  a  widow.' 

'  Your  excellency,'  said  the  young  woman,,  without  tr5'ing  to  give 
her  old  friend  false  hopes,  Mhave  come  to  ask  you  now  for  what  I 
refused  ;  if  I  have  come  to  ask  you  to  make  me  your  wife,  what  will 
you  say  ? ' 

The  duke  looked  at  her  interrogatively.     She  continued. 

*  A  great  secret  has  just  been  revealed  to  me,' she  said,  sitting 
down  on  the  bed.  *  I  have  a  family,  and  I  am  wealthy,  enormously 
wealthy.  If  yoti  consent  to  give  me  your  name,  there  shall  be  as 
y(ni  said,  two  duchesses  de  San  Lucca,  and  I  swear  to  you  that 
nobody  will  hesitate  in  deciding  which  of  the  two  does  more  honor 
to  this  great  name  and  to  the  title  which  follow;^  it.' 

The  old  man  looked  at  her  attentively. 

'  I  have  neither  the  strength  nor  the  desire  to  interrogate  you, 
Gorgon,'  he  sajd,     *  The  San  Luccaa  of  olden  times  never  withdrew 


A    MARTYR.  25 

what  they  have  once  said  or  offered.  You  shall  be  my  wife  since 
you  call  upon  me  to  redeem  my  promise.  Only  we  must  hurry  up. 
Magistrates  have  the  right,  I  believe,  to  celebrate  marriages  in 
extremis,  outside  of  ordinary  rules.  Let  Peppo  go  to  a  magistrate 
and  tell  him  that  a  dying  man  requires  his  services.    Go,  Popp  >,  go.' 

The  young  man  started  rapidly.  Gorgon,  who  had  remained 
alone  with  the  old  friend  of  King  Francis  II.,  wanted  to  txplain  the 
reasons  which  had  made  her  accept  his  proposition  after  she  had 
refused  it  once. 

*No,'  said  the  duke.  Do  not  wear  out  uselessly  the  few  drops 
of  oil  still  remaining  in  the  lamp.  I  want  to  know  nothing.  When 
one  is  at  the  point  of  death,  things  that  are  human  become  perfectly 
indifferent. 

Than  there  was  a  solemn  silence,  broken  only  by  the  breathing  of 
the  dying  mm.  Peppo  came  back  at  last,  bringing  with  him  a 
magistrate  and  a  priest.  Four  witnesses  picked  up  in  the  streets 
accompanied  them.  The  ceremony  was  performed  in  the  pre- 
scribed forms.  On  the  certificate  of  his  marriage,  the  duke  was 
able  to  affix  his  signature.  When  it  was  Gorg(m's  turn  to  sign, 
she  boldly  wrote  :  Claudia  Palmeri. 

The  magistrate  asked  her  if  she  had  any  legal  documents  estab- 
lishing her  civil  status,  and  she  showed  him  the  very  deeds  sent 
by  the  consul  from  Calcutta.  The  noble  genealogical  parchments 
of  the  Duke  de  San  Lucca  and  the  plebeian  deeds  of  the  new  Claudia 
Palmeri  were  then  put  together  and  handed  to  the  young  bride. 

A  few  minutes  a^fter  M.  de  San  Lucca  died  with  his  hcud  resting 
on  the  arm  of  the  courageous  young  girl,  who  was  not  frightened 
by  the  spectacle  of  death.  As  long  as  he  could  see,  he  kept  his 
eyes  fixed  on  her  beautiful  face  where  pity  and  gratitude  were 
depicted.  It  was  a  splendid  farewell  to  life,  and  her  radiant 
beauty  cheered  his  soul  when  the  last  shadows  of  death  fell  on  his 
eyes  wide  open. 

According  to  her  brother's  instructions,  Gorgon  spread  the  news 
around  the  neighborhood  that  she  intended  to  return  to  the 
theatrical  career  ;  money  had  been  needed  to  pay  the  expenses  of 
the  funeral  of  the  duke  de  San  Lucca,  and  there  was  more  wanted 
to  undertake  the  trip  to  France.  Without  entering  into  details, 
let  me  say  that  Peppo's  cleverness  soon  remedied  that.  He 
forged  a  cheque  and  the  1,000  francs  required  >\ere  at  their  dis- 
posal. 

The  hour  of  starting  at  length  arrived.  As  the  train  commenced 
to  move,  Gorgon  opened  the  window  and  looked  on  N.iples  for  the 
last  time. 

'  The  cradle  has  been  beautiful,'  she  said,  in  a  low  voice,    with 
more  emotion  than  she  thought  herself  susceptible  of.   '  Farewell  ! 
Naples  ! ' 
B 


J6  A   MARTYR. 

'  Good  morning,  Fortune  I '  cried  Peppo,  «nRpping  him  lingers. 
At  these  words  Gorgon  became  herself  again. 

*  We  have  twiutj'  millions,  and  I  am  a  duchess,'  she  said.    '  The 
world  is  mine  !  ' 

Now  let  us  transport  ourselves  to  Poudichery,  the  capital  of 
the  French  possessions  in  India.  As  we  retraced  the  events  of  three 
yeais  before  the  beginning  of  our  tale  in  Naples,  so  we  will  go  back 
about  two  years  in  Poudichery.  Only  this  time  we  shall  not  take 
our  readers  to  the  slums  of  the  society.  On  the  contrary,  we  will 
tind  our  heroes  in  the  hi.^^hest  ran-;s  and  amongst  the  most  eminent. 
Entering  the  palace  of  the  governor  of  the  colony,  we  will  go 
through  the  business  oflices,  to  pa^s  into  the  apartuients  reaorved 
for  the  family  of  the  Count  de  Moray,  the  governor-general,  and 
let  us  enter  the  room  of  a  young  girl  about  lifteen  years  old,  Mile. 
Paulette  de  Moray,  the  daughter  of  the  governor-general.  The 
child  is  lying  in  an  arm-chair,  c'ad  in  a  morning  robe  of  white 
muslin.  Uut  tlie  whiteness  of  her  clothing  and  of  tlio  >  angings  of 
her  virginal  chamber  are  nothing  in  ccniparison  v/ith  the  pnlenesa 
of  her  face.  Only  a  few  days  before.  Mile,  de  Moray  was  o)i  the 
point  of  death.  To-dny  Dr.  Roblin  hopes  she  is  siived.  Her  long 
illness  ha?  left  startling  traces,  but  there  is  nov  no  immediate 
danger  to  be  feared,  and  for  the  lirst  time  in  many  weeks,  the 
count  and  the  countess  remain  with  their  daughter  without  having  to 
assume  an  air  of  tranquillity.  Happiness  is  beaming  in  their  looks, 
and  their  eyes  meet  in  burning  thanks  to  (iod. 

The  governor-general,  the  Count  Roger  de  Moray,  is  a  man  in 
the  piime  of  life,  lie  has  hardly  turned  forty  and  dou^^  not  look 
that,  age.  His  wife  is  tliiity-two,  and  would  look  much  younger  if 
in  realitj'  her  f^^atuies  did  ni>t  hear  tlie  traces  of  the  anxiety  and 
anguish  »!ic  has  been  subjected  to  duriiig  her  daughter's  sickness. 
Near  M.  and  Mine,  de  Moray,  there  is  a  womf.n  familiarly  called 
Aunt  Basilique.  tShe  is  the  eldest  tister  of  the  Count  de  Moray. 
Aunt  B;iRili(iue  would  never  many,  so  as  to  be  at  liberty  to  follow 
her  brother  to  tlio  distant  countries  to  which  he  may  be  called  by 
the  noble  profession  he  h\.i*  embractd.  Aunt  13;;sili(iue  is  fo;ty-tivo 
years  old  and  looks  more.  Her  delicate  nature  has  resisted  only  by 
a  miracle  the  fatigut  s  of  her  voluntMry  exile.  As  we  entered  the 
room  of  Mile,  ue  Moray,  the  di;ct';r  v,;..-*  coining  out  of  it.  Whilst 
he  Ptated  that  the  sick  cliild  had  entered  the  period  of  convalea- 
cni  ce,  ho  also  dv-clared  that  great  care  must  l.o  taken  to  prevent  a 
reli]'8e. 

'  Very  Boo:i,'  the  countess  h.»d  eaid,  'we  will  ask  for  leave  of 
absence,  and  wo  will  go  to  Europe  for  six  months.  The  native  air 
will  ('o  more  good  to  our  d-iughtfr  than  all  your  science,  however 
precious  it  may  have  Ijeen  \intii  now.' 

•  Take  gocjd  care  not  to  do  that  ! '  cried  Dr.  Roblin.  '  Nothing  is 
more  fatal  to  persons  who  have  caught  our  Indian  fevers  than  to 


i 


A   MARTYR.  27 

leave  the  country  before  they  are  entirely  cured.  They  take  with 
them  the  germs  of  the  disease  which  becomes  incurable.  It  is  in 
the  place  itself  where  it  was  caught  that  it  must  bo  lost.' 

'  Then  we  are  condemned  ti)  remain  here  ? ' 

'  For  six  months  at  least.      Perhaps  a  year. ' 

And  M,  Roblin  withdrew.  Since  the  bei^'inning  of  his  daughter's 
sickness  the  count  had  naturally  somewhat  neglected  his  official 
functions,  relyin..',  aiid  with  reason,  on  the  devotedness  of  his  em- 
ployes. He  had  been  more  especially  seconded  by  his  deputy,  M. 
Gaston  de  Valli^res.  a  charming  young  man  whom  he  had  admitted 
into  the  intimacy  of  his  family.  But  now  that  his  mind  was  more 
easy,  he  would  take  occasion  to  attend  the  ceremony  of  tlie  cele- 
bration of  the  feast  of  agriculture,  which  happens  f»nce  a  year.  M. 
de  Moray  gave  orders  to  have  an  escort  ready  to  follow  him,  and 
left  with  Maltar,  hia  dohachi,  that  is  to  say  his  steward,  his  factotum. 
Maltar  had  all  the  best  qualities  of  the  Indian  servants,  and  by  a 
happy  chance  he  had  none  of  their  fauUs.  Much  devoted  to  hia 
masters,  ho  fairly  adored  the  countess  and  her  daughter.  When 
the  governor-general  arrived  with  his  escort,  the  /^te  was  at  its 
height,  and  to  show  his  respect  for  the  ancient  religi'jn  of  the 
Indian  population,  M.  de  Moray  remained  exposed  to  the  heat  of 
the  burning  sun  all  through  the  ceremony.  Maltar  told  him  it 
W(.n.ld  be  imprudent  t(i  remain  any  longer,  and  lie  himself  gave  the 
order,  almost  in  spite  (tf  the  count,  to  return  to  the  city.  Arrived 
at  Pondichery  M.  de  Moray  found  his  daughter  still  better  than 
when  he  had  left  her.  The  evening  was  spent  in  pleasant  conver- 
sation, and  they  retired  early  f'>r  fear  the  child  winikl  get  tired  ;  and 
he  himself  was  worn  out  with  fatigue.  He  was  feeling  a  sensation 
of  intense  cold,  and  at  times  it  seemed  to  him  as  if  tongues  of  lire 
were  burning  through  his  veins.  He  was  restlc^s  and  agitated  all 
night.  A  sort  *)f  ceaseless  delirium  tilled  his  brain.  Next  morning 
when  Maltar,  the  dohachi  entered  his  master's  room,  he  was  torritied. 
M.  de  Moray's  face  was  aglow,  and  he  spoke  in  a  low  and  irritable 
voice.  He  was  complaining  of  sufferings  Avhich  he  could  not  ex- 
plain. The  Hindoo  servant  could  not  mistake  the  symptoms  of  the 
disease.  He  had  seen  so  many  Euiopeans  attacked  by  the  terrible 
Indian  fover  that  ho  could  not  do\ibt.  Very  recently,  perhaps 
three  months  before,  he  had  been  the  tiist  to  notice  the  same  pre- 
cursory signs  on  the  daughter  which  ho  now  observed  on  the  father. 
Notwithstanding  the  assurance  of  the  count,  Maltar  ran  to  the 
doctor'sjand  accpiainted  him  with  what  he  had  seen.  M.  Ilublin  hast- 
ened to  the  palace,  juid  one  look  convinced  him  that  if  the  count  was 
not  yet  attacked  by  the  disease,  he  would  infallibly  catch  it  before 
long.  The  doctor  called  on  the  countess  who  hurried  up  to  receive 
him,  thinking  he  had  come  earlier  than  usual  merely  to  see  her 
daughter. 


28  A   MARTYR. 

'  You  are  up  very  early,'  she  aaid  to  the  doctor,  smiling.  '  Well, 
to  reward  your  zoal,  I  will  give  you  good  news  of  Panlette.  The 
dear  child  has  slept  more  soundly  than  she  has  done  for  a  longtime, 
and  even  at  this  moment  she  is  still  asleep.' 

'  1  have  not  come  to  speak  to  you  of  Miss  Paulette,'  answered 
the  doctor,  gravely. 

*  Of  whom,  then  V  cried  the  coimtess,  turning  pale. 

Seeing  the  emotion  exhibited  by  Mme.  de  Moray,  even  before 
she  knew  anything,  the  doctor  hesitated.  Ho  was  going  to  inflict  a 
terril)le  blow.  However,  there  was  not  a  minute  to  be  lost.  The 
good  man  resolved  to  cut  to  the  quick. 

'  I  have  come  to  speak  of  M.  de  Moray,'  he  answered. 

'Of  my  husband.' 

*  Yes,  the  count  is  unwell  this  morning.' 

*  Has  he  sent  for  you  ] ' 

'  No,  but  Maltar  was  anxious  about  his  health,  and  came  for  me.' 

*  What  is  the  matter  ? ' 

*  Nothing  seiioua  as  yet.' 

'Oh,  (jod  be  blessed!'  cried  the  countess,  'you  have  cruelly 
frightened  me,  doctor.' 

'Less  than  1  should  have,'  said  Mr.  Roblin,  shaking  his  head, 
sadly,  '  since  you  change  so  rapidly  from  anxiety  to  tranquillity.  It 
i.s  true  M.  de  Moray's  sickness  has  not  declared  itself,  yet,  but ' 

'  But  what  ?     In  heaven's  name  tell  me  all ! ' 

*  But  the  symptoms  are  such  that  it  is  impossible  to  mistake 
their  import  ;  any  moment  the  disease  may  declare  itself  and  be 
almost  beyond  cure,' 

'  And  that  disease  J ' 

'  Is  the  same  from  whijh  your  daughter  has  just  escaped.' 

Mme.  de  Moray  raised  a  cry  of  anguish. 

'  Ah  I '  she  cried.  '  That  fever  !  That  horrible  fever  which  kills 
the  strongest ! ' 

'  Alas  !  the  strongest  are  the  ones  it  kills,  because  it  is  fed  from 
the  forces  it  breaks.  By  what  has  happened  in  the  case  of  your 
daughter,  you  have  seen  that  the  children  escape  its  deadly  effects. 
But  men  in  the  prime  of  their  age  and  vigorous,  like  M.  de  Moray 

'  Those  are  condemned,  are  they  not  ?  Is  not  that  what  you 
mean  ? ' 

The  doctor  did  not  answer. 

*  Ah  ! '  she  cried,  wringing  her  hands  in  despair,  and  falling  on  a 
chair,  '  all  is  lost.     I  understand  you  too  well ! ' 

A  sob  came  up  to  her  throat  and  nearly  choked  her.  The  doctor 
could  have  quieted  her  anxiety,  by  telling  her  of  the  hopes  he  en- 
tertained, because  he  thought  an  immediate  departure  from  the 
colony  would  cure   the    count,    but  he   wanted   to   frighten    the 


A   MARTYR.  29 

unhappy  woman  so  that  she  would  not  raise  any  objections  to  the 
grave  obstacles  which  were  in  the  way.  The  doctor  had  foreseen 
these  obstacles.  We  will  acquaint  the  reader  with  them  in  a  few 
words. 

'Listen,'  he  said,  after  the  first  burst  of  her  natural  despair. 
'  No.     Perhaps  all  is  not  lost. 

The  countess  did  not  dare  to  question  him.  But  wivh  intense 
anxiety  she  was  trying  to  read  on  the  face  of  her  friend  the  chances 
of  salvation  he  might  allude  to. 

'  So  long  as  the  fever  has  not  deveh^ped  itself,  there  is  hope.  But 
to  obtain  that  result  you  must  take  your  husband  far  away  from  the 
dangerous  climateric  influences  surrounding  him.' 

'  That  ia  to  say  ? ' 

*  He  must  leave  the  colony.' 
'  When  ? ' 

*  This  very  day.  The  mail  steamer  leaves  this  morninij.  If  M. 
de  Moray  does  not  leave  to-day,  he  will  have  to  wait  for  the  next 
steamer,  that  is  to  say  fifteen  long  days,  fifteen  mortal  days,  to 
speak  more  correctly.' 

'  Leave,  you  say  ?     But  where  will  he  go  ! ' 

'To  France?' 

'But  M.  de  Moray  will  never  give  his  consent.' 

*  We  will  do  without  it.  We  will  force  his  will  by  putting  him  to 
sleep.  Alas  !  dear  madam,  the  plan  which  I  propose  is  very  bold, 
and  both  of  us  will  be  assuming  a  very  weighty  responsibility.  If 
you  are  willing  to  take  your  share  of  it,  I  shall  gladly  accept  mine.' 

*  I  will  (If)  anything  to  save  my  husband.' 

*  Well,  M.  de  Moray  is  in  a  state  of  excitement  which  causes  him 
to  drink  vory  uheii  ;  1  can  throw  into  his  glass  an  opiate  whic'.i  will 
make  him  sleep  soundly.  This  opiate,  renewed  with  pruder  -e,  will 
keep  him  for  a  few  days  in  such  a  state  of  m«  rital  weakness  that  he 
will  not  know  the  place  he  will  be  in,  nur  will  he  be  astonished  at 
not  finding  himself  here  any  longer.' 

'  So,  you  want  to  send  my  husband  on  board  the  steamer  1 ' 

*  Unknown  to  himself,  yes.' 

'Very  well.'  said  the  countess.  'Do  just  a%  you  say,  doctor. 
As  f<»r  me,  an  hour  will  be  sufficient  to  notify  M.  tie  Vallie.f.^,  my 
husband's  deputy,  to  take  charge  of  the  administration,  and  to 
awaken  Paulette.' 

'  M.  de  Moray's  life  is  condemned,  if  he  remains  in  Pondiohdry,' 
the  doctor  said,  unfeelingly,  '  but  Miss  Paulette's  life  is  as  surely 
sacrificed,  if  she  goes  away.' 

The  countess  looked  at  the  doctor  with  amazement.  What  she 
understood  him  to  say  seemed  so  horrible  to  her,  that  nhe  could 
not  believe  it. 

'  Come,  now,'  she  said  with  the  look  of  a  maniac,  '  I  did  not  hear 
you  properly.     You  say  that  my  husband  must  go  ? ' 


30  A   MARTYR. 

'  In  three-quart«ri  of  an  hour,  now,  beoaus*  time  unfortunately 
flies  rapidly  ! ' 

•  And  yon  say  that  my  daughter  must  remain  t ' 
'Yes,  for  several  months  yet.' 

•  Very  well,  and  what  am  I  to  do  ?  I  cannot  let  my  husband 
go  without  me,  since  he  is  already  in  danger  of  death.  And  I  can- 
not leave  my  daughter,  because  she  is  also  in  danger  of  death.  You 
see  very  well  that  your  plan  is  not  feasible. 

Time  was  pressing.  To  obtain  a  solution  at  once,  the  doctor 
took  upon  himself  a  heavier  responsibility  than  he  had  yet  as- 
sumed. 

'  I  answer  for  the  life  of  Miss  Paulette,'  he  said,  *  whatever  may 
happen.' 

'  Even  if  I  desert  her  !  Even  if  I  break  her  heart  by  leaving  her 
to  the  care  of  mercenary  hands  !  Even  should  she  doubt  my  ten- 
derness and  my  love,  in  the  state  of  prostration  she  is  in  ! ' 

During  the  painful  conflict,  a  new  character  had  entered  the 
room.  Having  been  notified  of  the  doctor's  arrival.  Aunt  Basilique 
had  come  down  to  enquire  into  the  cause  of  this  unusual  visit  ; 
although  she  arrived  at  the  end  of  their  conversation,  she  had  heard 
enough  to  understand  the  terrible  questions  which  were  being  agi- 
tated. In  the  generosity  of  her  heart,  she  at  once  resolved  to 
sacrifice  herself.  As  Mine,  de  Moray  was  rebelling  against  the 
thought  of  leaving  her  daughter  to  the  care  of  mercenary  hands. 
Aunt  Basilique  advanced. 

•  Laura,'  she  eaid  with  authority,  '  You  can  leave  without  anxiety 
with  the  one  whose  chances  of  life  depend  on  your  care  and  your 
love.  I,  the  sister  of  your  husband,  shall  remain  with  your 
daughter. ' 

'Ah,  aunty!'  cried  the  coimtess,  turning  round  and  throwing 
herself  into  the  arms  which  were  opened  to  receive  her,  '  you  also 
wish  that  I  should  leave  my  daughter.' 

'  What  I  wish  is  this  :  in  the  doubt  in  which  your  heart  is 
struggling,  you  must  go  where  duty  calls  you,  and  you  must  listen 
only  to  your  duty,' 

And  taking  the  direction  of  the  events,  the  devoted  woman  ad- 
dressed herself  first  to  M.  Roblin. 

'  Doctor,'  she  said,  *  attend  to  my  brother,  and  make  the  terrible 
experiment  which  your  science  and  your  wisdom  suggest.' 

While  speaking,  Aunt  Basilique  had  rung  the  bell,  and  a  servant 
Boon  appeared 

'Call  M.  de  Valliferes,'  she  said.  'He  must  come  at  once.' 
Then  turning  to  Mme.  de  Moray. 

'  Laura,'  she  said  softly,  '  you  have  only  one  short  half  hour  to 
prepare  yourself  and  see  your  child.  But,  if  you  take  my  advice 
you  will  not  disturb  her  sleep  ;  as  you  have  not  even  time  to  invent 


A    MARTYR.  81 

a  pretence  for  yoir  departure,  and  the  emotions  caused  by  such  a 
farewell  might  be  fatal  to  her.' 

'  You  want  ine  to  ^o  away  without  seeini,'  my  daughter,  without 
kissing  her  !  I>ut  that  is  downright  cruelty.  You  must  under- 
stand that  what  you  ask  is  impossible  !  ' 

*  Come,  then,  to  her  for  an  instant,  since  you  must  see  her,  but 
once  again,  do  not  tell  her  yuu  are  going  ;  do  not  awaken  her  !  ' 

'  Hut  some  day  she  will  have  to  bo  told ' 

'  When  you  shall  have  gone  with  your  husband,  I  will  prepare 
your  dau;'htor,  by  dpgrers,  to  the  idea  of  this  necessary  separation. 
She  will  know  the  wliole  truth  only  when  she  is  strouf^  enough  to 
bear  its  revelation.' 

The  counsels  of  Aunt  Basilique  were  wise  and  Mme.  de  Moray 
had  to  heed  them.  Whilst  her  maid  was  preparing  the  toilet 
articles  necessary  for  such  a  long  voyage,  the  countess  supported 
by  her  sister-in-law  entered  Paulefcle'.s  room.  Tlie  cliaste  young 
girl  was  sleeping,  and  her  re.^t  was  quiet  and  deep  enough  to  allow 
Mme.  de  Moray,  who  was  smothering  her  sobs,  logo  near  her  couch 
without  disturbing  her.  The  poor  woman  would  have  given  numy 
years  of  her  life  to  bo  allowed  tf»  pour  out  all  her  love  in  a  single 
kiss.  Hut  sho  readily  understood  that  Paulette  would  certainly 
awake  at  this  usual  caress,  and  she  merely  kissed  the  sheet  which 
wrapped  her  sleeping  child,  the  while  bathing  it  with  her  nilent 
tear.s.  Aunt  Baaili((ue  shortened  this  j^ainful  scene  as  much  as 
possible,  as  she  was  afraid  the  courage  and  prudence  of  the  poor 
mother,  who  had  been  so  heroical  until  then.  w(j\ild  fail  at  the  last 
moment. 

'  Come,'  she  said,  in  a  low  voice. 

And  she  dnigged  her  awa}'.  It  was  only  when  she  was  far  from 
her  daughter's  room  that  she  burst  into  a  j)assion  of  despair.  The 
crisis  was  short,  however.  The  countess  was  a  woman  with  a  stout 
ht'art  and  the  aacred  duty  which  was  imposed  upon  her  required 
all  her  attention. 

The  captain  consented  to  delay  the  steamer  for  a  short  time,  and 
half  an  hour  after,  M,  de  Moray  was  on  board  with  his  wife  and 
Mallar. 

•  ••■•• 

'Then,  dc»ctor,'  asked  M.  de  Valli^res,  on  returning  from  the 
steamer,  '  your  opini  )n*is  that ' 

'  M.  de  Moray  would  have  died  withiji  a  month  if  he  had  remained 
here' 

'  While  now  ? ' 

*  Ho  has  some  chance  of  escaping  the  disease.' 
'  Much  ?  ' 

'  I  would  not  say  that,  but  certainly  his  prospects  are  improved.' 

*  May  God  hear  you  !     I  am  so  attached  to  M.  de  Moray. ' 


32  A   MARTYR. 

'  And  Mias  Paulette  is  bo  charming  !  '  added  the  doctor. 
Tho  young  man  blushed. 

*  What  do  you  mean  ?  '  he  asked. 
The  f''';ctor  smiled  good-humoredly. 

'  Nothing,'  lio  said.  *  Nothing  but  what  is  quite  natural  and 
proper.  Miss  Paulette  is  a  charming  young  lady  and  you  are  a 
charming  young  man.  Everything  brings  you  together  :  age, 
fort\ine,  social  position.  What  more  is  needed  to  explain  the 
natiire  of  your  sentiments  towards  her  ? ' 

*  What !  doctor,  you  have  found  out ' 

■  There  was  no  need  to  be  a  sorcerer  to  guess  that.  Your  anxiety, 
your  emotion  during  that  painful  sickness  of  three  months  have 
told  me  your  secret.  I'pon  my  word,  I  believe  that  if  the  governor- 
general  had  remained  in  Pondichery  another  year,  you  would  have 
had  a  particular  favor  to  ask  him.' 

*  It  is  true,'  said  the  young  man,  dolefully.  *  While  now  that  he 
is  gone ' 

*  Well,  now  that  he  is  gone  you  will  have  to  speak  to  Miss  Pau- 
lette herself.  Do  you  complain,  and  will  it  be  so  painful  to  hear  a 
pretty  and  sweet  girl  like  her  tell  you  that  your  sentiments  do  not 
displease  her. ' 

'  What  do  you  say  ? '  cried  the  young  man,  with  excitement. 
*  Do  you  really  think  I  can  hope  1 ' 

'  Hush  ! '  said  the  doctor,  '  we  have  arrived  at  Government 
house,  and  I  must  go  and  see  if  my  patient  has  awakened.' 

Aunt  Basilique  went  to  meet  him. 

*  Well,'  she  asked,  •  how  did  you  manage  the  embarking  ? ' 
'  Very  well  !  ' 

'  And  my  brother  ? ' 

*  He  was  put  on  board  under  the  best  possible  conditions.  Have 
confidence.     But  is  there  anything  new  here  ? ' 

'  Nothing  yet.  I  preferred  awaiting  your  return  before  revealing 
anything  to  Paulette.  However  carefully  I  might  do  it  ;  an  acci- 
dent may  happen. ' 

*  Miss  Paulette  is  awakened  ? ' 

'  Yes,  she  was  astonished  at  not  seeing  her  mother  by  her  bed- 
side as  usual.     I  evaded  her  anxiety.' 

'  I  shall  go  and  prepare  her  to  hear  the  truth.  Ah  !  tell  me  is 
she  up  1 ' 

*  She  is  resting  in  an  arm-chair.' 

*  Then  M.  de  Vallieres  can  come  with  us.     Allow  me  to  call  him.' 
'What  for]' 

*  In  a  difficult  situation,  many  will  do  more  than  one,'  answered 
the  doctor  evasively. 

A  few  moments  later.  Aunt  Basilique,  the  deputy-governor,  and 
the  doctor  entered  the  large   room   which  had  been   assigned  to 


A    MARTYR.  33 

Paillette.  She  was  astonished  to  see  M.  de  Vallieres  so  early, 
although  she  had  received  him  almost  as  intimately  as  a  relative 
durinj?  the  course  of  her  long  illness,  but  it  alwiiys  had  been  at  a 
later  hour  and  in  the  presence  of  her  father  and  mother.  In  spite 
of  the  pleasure  she  felt  at  seeing  him,  a  premonition  of  trouble 
tilled  her  heart. 

'  M.  tiaaton  !  '  she  said,  rising  a  little,  What  chance  has 
brought  you  here  ? ' 

'  It  is  not  M.  Gaston  who  pays  you  his  respects,'  answered  the 
young  man,  trying  to  smile,  '  it  is  the  governor-general  cul  interim 
wl  o  is  now  before  you.' 

*  The  governor-general  ad  interim?  Where,  then,  is  my  father  / 
Where  is  my  mother  / '  she  said,  with  increasing  anxiety,  addressing 
Aunt  Basilique. 

The  latter  assumed  a  look  of  uncDncern. 

'  Oh  !  your  mother,'  she  said,   '  you  will  not  see  her  to-day.' 

'  Not  to-day  ?  ' 

'  Neither  to-morrow,  perhaps  !  ' 

'  Where  is  she  ?     Where  are  they  both  ? ' 

The  doctor  intervened  in  his  turn. 

'Miss  Paulette,'  he  said,  'I  am  the  guilty  one,  and  you  must 
blame  me.  Do  yon  see,  your  dear  father  neglected  his  duties  while 
you  were  sick,  and  much  of  his  business  fell  behind  hands.  For 
example,  do  you  remember  the  projected  excursion  in  the  district 
of  Bahour  ? ' 

*  Yes,  I  recollect.     Well  ? ' 

*  Well,  the  excursion  had  been  postponed  on  your  account. 
Grave  interests  were  at  stake.  Then,  as  you  are  about  three- 
fourths  cured,  1  have  given  the  signal  of  departure.  The  governor- 
general  started  this  morning.* 

'  Without  bidding  me  good-bye  1     Oh  !  ' 

'  It  was  to  avoid  the  emotion  of  a  farewell  that  1  stood  guard  at 
the  door  when  he  wanted  to  come  and  kiss  you  this  morning,  with 
the  countess.' 

'  My  mother  !     Has  my  mother  gone  also  ? ' 

'  Certainly,  I  have  just  told  you  so.' 

The  good  doctor  had  not  said  it,  and  he  knew  it  well.  But  when 
one  has  bad  news  to  impart,  he  does  the  best  he  can.  The  young 
girl  was  well  enough  now  to  have  recovered  all  the  lucidity  of  her 
mind.     She  understood  that  the  doctor  was  not  telling  the  truth. 

'  Nayre,'  she  called  abruptly. 

One  of  the  two  Indian  girls  who  were  in  the  room,  rose  and  came 
to  her. 

'Nayre,'  said  Paulette,  trying  to  speak  calmly,  'do  you  know 
where  my  mother  is  1 ' 

The  little  Indian  girl,  who  was  the  favorite  servant  of  Mile,  de 
Moray,  had  not  been  instructed  as  to  what  to  tell. 


34  A   MARTYR. 

*  The  countess  has  gone,'  she  answered.  '  Gone  to  France  with 
M.  de  Moray.* 

*  Gone  !  Both  gone  !  Gone  to  France  ! '  cried  Pnulette,  rising 
suddenly  from  the  chair,  where  she  was  resting.  *  Tliat  is  not  pos- 
sible ! ' 

They  tried  to  make  her  sit  down,  but  she  repulsed  the  friends 
who  were  surronnditif,'  her. 

*  No,'  sho  Hiiid,  '  leave  me  alone  ;  I  want  to  see.' 

Mmo.  do  Moray's  roon  was  adjoining  hor  dau;;jhtoi'.s.  Paulette 
went  there,  nlono,  refusing  all  help. 

'  I  want  to  Hee,'  she  repoaU-d,  '  I  want  to  see  !  *. 

She  opened  the  door  and  tlie  disorder  she  observed  in 'the  room 
confirmed  the  terrible  news  she  had  juRt  received. 

'  Ah  !  '  she  cried  with  anguish.  *  Gone  !  they  are  really  gone  I 
Thoy  have  abandoned  me  I  ' 

IJer  strength  failed  her.  She  nearly  fell  down.  Aunt  !'•  isiliqne 
was  rushing  to  h<'r  holp,  when  the  doctor  arrest  oil  hur,  and  it  was 
M.  de  Vallibivs  wh  >  caught  the  poor  child  in  his  arms  and  laid  her 
on  the  divan. 

'  Now,'  said  the  good  doctor,  *  the  dear  cliild  must  know  every- 
thing, :»nd  M.  de  Valli^res  will  undertake  th.'  t.isk.  He  «m11  lind 
language  more  persuasive  and  more  consoling  than  we  cuM  em- 
ph)y  to  tell  her  all.' 

And  the  young  man  commenced  the  recital  of  the  events  we  have 
just  narrated. 

•  ■  ••••  *■■••• 

During  this  time  the  steamer  which  bore  M.  and  Mme.  de  Moray 
was  sailing  at  full  spaed  towards  France.  Peppo  and  Gordon, 
starting  from  Naples,  were  also  ijoin.;  there,  and  from  the  tneeting  of 
these  four  persons  will  spring  all  tiie  evils,  all  the  sufferings  of  the 
poor  Martyr,  who  makes  the  subject  of  this  story. 


End  or  the  Prologub. 


A   MARTYR.  86 


.-,.  ,. 'E  have  promised  our  reader  to  take  him  to  Paris,  let  us 
VmA  fiilfil  tliia  promise,  and  make  him  acquainted  with  a  new 
fiC>  character,  Admiral  Firmin  de  la  Marche. 

Two  years  at,'o,  that  is  to  say  at  the  time  this  story 
was  being  enacted,  the  u(imiral  was,  unquestionably,  the  greatest 
figiiioof  the  French  navy,  where  types  of  honor  and  bravery  were, 
however,  to  be  found  very  often.  He  was  seventy-eight  years  old, 
and  his  career  had  been  filled  with  brilliant  actions.  Since  his 
youth,  since  his  boyhood,  rather,  each  one  of  his  years  has  been 
marked  by  some  repounding  feat  of  arms,  in  warring  against  men 
and  against  the  elenienta.  Mmo.  Firmin  de  la  Marche  was  a  few 
years  younger;  than' her^ husband;  she  was  still  beautiful  and  her 
crown  of  white  hair  inspired  veneratiim  in  all  those  who  approached 
her.  She  belonged  to  a  very  ancient  family,  and  had  many  rela- 
tions in  the  old  and  proud  nobility  of  France.  Better  known  per- 
sonally than  the  admiral  himself,  having  resided  in  Paris  almost 
cnntinuouely,  Mme.  de  la  Marche  was  acknowledged  the  leader  of  the 
religious  and  benevolent  people  of  the  gay  city.  The  most  striking 
feature  of  her  character,  in  the  midst  of  the  brilliant  existence  she 
had  led,  was  the  constant 'sadness  noticed  in  her  face.  Whatever 
effort  she  made  to  hide  to  the  world  the  deep  melancholy  which  was 
affecting  her,  no  one  could  help  observing  with  astonishment  the 
spells  of  prostration  to  which  she  abandoned  herself,  often  uncon- 
sciously. M.?and  Mme.  de  la  Marche  had  but  one  child,  named 
Laura,  whom  they  had  given  to  the  Count  de  Moray,  It  was  not 
without  sorrow  that  Mme.  de  la  Marche  had  consented  to  the  union 
which  separated  her  from  Laura,  who  was  then  only  eighteen  years 
old.  The  admiral  had  had  occasion  to  appreciate  the  brilliant  and 
solid  qualities  of  M.  de  Moray,  and  took  his  demand  into  serious 
consideration,  when,  as  he  was  on  the  point  of  leaving  to  assume 
the  post  of  Governor  of  Senegal,  he  had  asked  the  hand  of  Laura. 
This  union,  which  presented  very  important  advantages,  had  to  be 
accepted  or  rejected  at  once.  As  M.  de  Moray  was  just  as  accept- 
able to  the  daughter  as  to  her  parents,  he  soon  possessed  the  trea- 
sure he  coveted.  A  few  days  after  his  marriage  he  left  with  his 
young  bride  for  the  colonies.  She  followed  him  everywhere,  and 
during  one  of  these  long  and  perilous  exiles,  she  was  delivered  of 
Psulett*,  the  dear  girl  w«  have  leen  so  ill  in  Pondioh6ry.     By  good 


36  A   MARTVR. 

luck  M.  de  la  Marche  had  a  very  large  fortune,  as  also  had  the  Count 
de  Moray.  With  the  intention  of  helping  his  son-in-law  to  do  honor 
to  the  high  positions  he  occupied  whirih  require  heavy  expenses  to  be 
kept  lip  with  becoming  display,  the  admiral  had  given  a  very  large 
dowry  to  Laura.  Ho  had  curtailed  his  own  alh)wanco  on  this  occa- 
sion, so  that  Laura  could  bring  to  her  Inisband  a  little  more  than  six 
hundred  thousand  francs,  which  was  nearly  as  much  as  he  possessed 
himself.  He  that  as  it  may,  the  marriage  of  Laura  must  have  had 
a  great  deal  to  do  with  the  usual  sadness  of  Mme.  de  la  Mnrche. 
The  almost  continual  estrangement  of  these  two  women  so  closely 
united  by  a  deep  love  for  each  other,  explained  the  gloomy  sadness 
of  the  mother,  one  might  even  say  of  the  grandmother,  for  although 
Mme.  do  la  Marche  had  seen  lier  grand-daughter  but  very  seldom, 
still  she  loved  her  with  excessive  tenderness.  Paulette  had  been 
brought  over  to  France  only  once  or  twice  since  her  birth.  Her 
last  sojourn  had  been  the  longest  ;  she  had  lived  for  one  year  in  an 
old  mansion  of  the  family,  on  de  Varennes  street,  which  M.  do 
Moray  would  never  sell,  though  he  rented  part  of  it,  and  used  the 
remainder  for  his  own  family,  whenever  he  was  absent  on  leave  for 
a  few  months  from  his  post  of  duty. 

One  day  the  admiral  had  entered  the  room  of  Mme.  de  la  Marche. 
'My  dear  Noemie,'  he  said,    'I  have  just  received  a  despatch. 
Guess  who  it  comes  from  ? ' 

*  Since  you  ask  me  that  question,  it  is  because  it  comes  from 
Laura,  is  it  not  ? ' 

'  You  find  out  everything.     And  where  does  it  come  from  ? ' 

'  Naturally  from  Pondich^ry.  But,  my  God  !  you  make  me 
anxious.  Has  anything  happened  ?  Paulette  was  sick  at  the  last 
letter  we  received.    Is  it  ? ' 

'  Don't  be  uneasy.  The  despatch  is  not  fnmi  Pondichery.  How- 
ever, it  was  sent  by  your  daughter.  As  to  Paulette,  she  is  better. 
But,  here,  I  am  very  clumsy  in  my  explanation.  1  should  have 
handed  you  the  despatch  at  once.' 

Mme.  de  la  Marche  seized  on  the  telegrain,  which  was  from  Aden, 
and  read  thus  : 

•  We  have  left  Pondichdry  suddenly,  through  a  serious  illness 
threatening  Roger.  All  imminent  danger  is  over  to-day.  Paulette, 
who  is  convalescent,  has  remained  in  Pondichery  with  Aunt 
Basilique.  Shall  arrive  in  Marseilles  on  20th  June.  Will  be  very 
happy  to  see  you  again. 

'  Laura.' 

It  is  not  necessary  to  add  that  Mme.  de  la  Marche  resolved  to  go 
to  Marseilles  on  the  19th.  The  admiral  had  thought  of  going  also, 
but  the  exigencies  of  the  service  kept  him  in  Paris  at  the  last  nio- 


A    MARTYR.  87 

ment.  Su  (^'.me.  de  la  Marche  found  herself  aluno  on  the  wharf 
when  the  governor- general  of  PondichAry  and  his  wife  disembarked 
from  the  niagniticent  steamer.  Laura  threw  herself  in  her  mother's 
arms,  and  remained  a  few  moments  on  her  breast,  her  eyes 
bathed  with  sweet  tears,  which  made  her  forget  the  bitterness  of 
those  she  had  shed  since  her  departure  from  the  Indian  coast.  At 
last  Alme.  do  la  Marche  disengaged  herself  and  greeted  her  son-in- 
law,  who  was  waiting,  he  also  much  agitated,  leaning  on  Maltar's 
arm.  The  good  and  noble  woman  was  much  pained  by  tiie  sight  of 
M.  do  Moray.  She  could  not  recognize  the  man  she  iiad  known  so 
strong  and  vigorous.  It  was  not  that  ho  had  grown  very  old  since 
his  last  trip  to  France.  It  was  not  either  that  he  had  lost  anything 
of  his  real  beauty.  On  the  contrary,  perhaps  his  sufferings  had  im- 
proved his  appearance  by  refining  him,  as  it  were.  The  brutal 
fever  which  had  struck  him  down,  and  which  was  still  lasting,  with- 
out, happily,  the  danger  of  the  pernicious  effects  it  would  have  had 
in  India,  this  brutal  fever,  wo  say,  gave  to  his  wh'?le  being  a  strange 
aspect.  Jts  flame  was  shining  in  the  count's  looks  with  burning 
glinnner.  The  complexion  of  his  face,  which  had  become  very  dull, 
would  have  excited  the  envy  of  a  Creole  woman.  It  was  the  beauty 
of  a  sick  man,  to  be  sure,  but  it  was  very  striking.  Mme.  de  la 
Marche  was  much  impressed,  and  felt  pity  and  sadness. 
'  My  po(;r  child,'  she  said,  '  how  you  must  have  suffered  !  ' 
However,  they  proceeded  to  the  hotel,  where  rooms  had  been 
set  apart  for  them.  While  Maltar,  the  faithful  Indian,  helped  hia 
master  to  go  to  bed  and  take  a  little  rest,  Mme.  de  Moray  and  her 
mother  remained  alone. 

'  My  father  !  speak  to  nie  of  my  father  ! '  said  Laura,  almost  on 
her  knees  at  her  mother's  feet,  '  is  he  always  full  of  health,  strong, 
and  great,  in  mind  as  well  as  body  / ' 

*  Yes,  always,'  answered  Mme.  de  la  Marche.  '  I  need  not  tell 
you  with  what  impatience  he  ''<,  awaiting  our  return  to  Paris.  But 
it  is  not  of  him  we  must  speak,  it  is  of  Paulette,  your  daughter,  our 
daughter.' 

New  tears  rushed  to  the  eyes  of  the  Countess  de  Moray. 

*  Paulette  !  '  she  said,  *  you  must  imagine,  my  dear  mother,  what 
was  my  despair  at  leaving  her.  How  is  it  that  1  did  not  become  in- 
sane when  I  was  forced  to  go  away  suddenly  without  even  kissing 
her  ?  Doubtless  God  wished  to  keep  me  for  the  cruel  combat  in 
which  I  had  to  tight  for  the  life  of  my  husband,  with  the  cabin  of  a 
ship  for  a  battlefield,  during  a  voyage  which  I  shall  never  forget,  I 
assure  you.' 

'  You  left  India  without  kissing  your  daughter  ! '  cried  Mme.  de 
la  Marche. 

'  1  had  to  ;  our  departure  was  decided  on,  and  accomplished  in 
less  than  an  hour,  Roger's  life  being  at  stake.     In  an  hour  I  would 


88  A  MARTYR. 

not  have  had  the  time  to  prepare  my  daughter  to  the  horrible  ne- 
ceaaity  of  our  separation.  She  would  hive  insisted  on  cominfj  wiMi 
us,  and  in  the  state  of  weakness  she  was  in,  it  would  have  been  a 
crime  to  consent  to  such  a  thing.  And  Goi  only  knows  if  I  wonld 
have  had  the  stren<ith  to  resist  her  entreaties  to  the  «nd.' 

*  And  yon  do  not  know,  naturally,  how  she  bore  the  discovery  of 
your  departure,  wlien  she  was  tuld  of  it  ?' 

'  We  found  despatches  at  all  the  stadous  where  the  steamer  shop- 
ped, at  Colombo,  Aden,  Suez.  Even  here,  befi)re  we  landed,  the 
pilot  boat  met  the  stuamer  and  brought  us  a  new  despatch.' 

And  what  did  these  despatches  c  >ntain  / ' 

'Good and  consoling  tidings,  such  as  this  :  "  Great  sorrow  but 
^reat  couraj^e  ;  the  convalescence  follows  its  regular  course  ;  I  am 
happy  to  learn  that  my  fatlier  is  out  of  all  danger."  ' 

*  You  were  able  to  telegraph  yourself  to  give  Paulette  news  of  her 
father  ?  ' 

'  Yes,  at  Colombo  and  at  Eden.' 

'  .And  this  good  news,  which  was  expected  with  such  impatience, 
you  were  able  to  send.     Roger  felt  better  when  you  started.' 

'  I  was  only  feigning  hope.  For  two  weeks,  I  thought  my  hus- 
band would  die.' 

Mnje.  de  la  Marche  looked  at  her  daughter  with  compassion. 
How  she  must  have  suffered.  During  this  conversation,  M.  de 
Moray  had  taken  an  hoar's  rest.  On  awakening,  he  asked  for  his 
wife,  who  entered  her  room  wiih  his  mother. 

'  Well,'  he  said,  smiling,  and  rising  with  a  painful  effort,  *  now 
that  I  am  strong  and  well,  we  will  decide  on  the  time  of  our  depar- 
ture for  Paris. ' 

'Oh  ! '  answered  Laura,  '  that  is  too  quick.  You  know  what  I 
have  told  you,  lioger  'i  ' 

*  What  was  it  ? ' 

'  The  promise  I  made  to  good  Dr.  Roblin  before  our  departure. 
These  were  his  last  words  :  "  Let  your  first  care  be,  on  landing,  to 
send  Dr.  Chasserant  these  few  lines  I  have  written  in  haste,  which 
will  acquaint  him  with  the  situation.  Chassurant  knows  the  nature 
of  M.  de  Moray's  illness,  because  he  made  a  long  sojourn  in  India, 
at  Chandernagor,  before  he  went  to  Marseilles,  and  he  can  speak 
with  authority  on  such  matters,  and  whatever  he  may  command  you 
must  obey."  1  gave  Dr.  lioblin  the  promise  he  asked.  I  gave  it 
in  ycur  name  as  well  as  in  my  own,  and  we  sliall  keep  it  together.' 

'  Then  you  Ixave  notified  M.  Chasserant  ? '  asked  M.  de  Moray, 
annoyed  by  the  delay,  but  still  grateful  to  his  wife  for  the  tender- 
ness she  exhibited  towards  him. 

'  And  he  replied  thad  he  would  be  here  within  an  hour.  Th« 
hour  is  almost  over,  and  probably  he  is  here  now.' 

(Maltar  had  entered,  bringing  a  card  on  a  salver.) 


A   MARTYR.  39 

'  It  is  the  doctor/  said  the  coimteaa,  after  looking  at  thd  card. 
'  Tell  him  to  come  in,  Maltar. ' 

Mme.  de  la  Marche  looked  at  tlie  Indian,  while  he  was  going  on 
his  errand.  His  face  of  rod-hrown  hue,  winch  had  intelligence  and 
cunning  depicted  on  his  features,  astonished  her.  Maltar  cauio  back 
with  the  doctor,  f  nd  on  a  sign  of  approbation  from  the  coantess, 
who  \inder8t<,od  his  desire  to  be  present  at  the  consultation,  he  re- 
mained in  the  room.  After  having  examined  hi.s  patient  with 
careful  attention,  and  interrogated  him  at  h'ngth,  M.  Chasaerant 
wrot-rJ  a  detailed  prescription,  in  which  was  indicated  the  treatment 
to  bo  followed,  and  which  he  declared  necessary. 

'  f  thank  you,  doctor,'  said  M.  de  Moray,  'and  when  will  you 
allow  me  to  start  ? ' 

'  «tart  ?     VVhere  to  ? ' 

'To  Paris.' 

*  Oh  !  we  d(j  not  agree.' 

'  How  is  that  ]  '  said  the  count,  visibly  annoyed. 

'  You  are  not  in  a  fit  condition  to  defy  the  climate  of  the  north 
of  France.' 

'  The  north— the  north  !  ' 

'  Pardon  m*^.  Paris  is  altogether  the  north.  It  is  even  the  north 
pole  for  a  man  like  you,  ust-d  to  the  Indian  climate.  In  any  cir- 
cumstance it  is  dangerous  for  those  who  have  lived  in  the  c  donies 
where  yon  have  passed  most  of  your  life,  not  to  remain  a  long 
while  on  the  shores  of  the  Mediterranean;  it  w<mld  be  ptill  more 
dangerous  for  you,  who  have  ju-^t  escaped  the  fever.  So,  in  the 
present  case,  I  do  not  advise,  I  commund,  and  I  intrust  the  execu- 
tion of  my  orders  to  the  alFection  of  all  those  who  surround  jou, 
and  chiefly  to  Mme.  de  Moray. ' 

The  coinit  was  sorely  disappointed. 

'  ^md  how  long  will  I  be  exiled  / '  he  asked. 

'  1  cannot  tell  you  exactly.      A  month  or  two,  perhaps.' 

'  Perhaps  six,'  said  M.  do  Moray,  with  impatience. 

'  No,  because  in  that  case  you  would  have  to  remain  all  next 
winter  in  the  south,  which  would  certainly  be  wiser.  Anyway,  we 
will  aoc  then.' 

'  NVell,  since  there  is  no  help  for  it,  let  ns  remain  in  Marseilles.' 

'Not  so.  Marseilles  would  hardly  be  better  than  Paris.  'I'lie 
ciimate  is  too  severe.     Tiie  mistral  would  try  you  too  much.' 

'  Then,  where  do  you  send  me  \  ' 

'  Wherever  you  may  like  to  go.  There  are  plenty  (»f  good  places. 
Hy^rea,  Nice,  Manton,  or  what  would  be  still  better,  Cannes. 
Now,  I  am  thinking  of  a  point  where  few  people  go  as  yet,  but 
which,  however,  is  visited  by  people  of  the  best  society.  And  you 
will  find  there  very  comfortable  quarters,  which  are  not  to  be  de- 
spised, if  you  are  to  remain  there  a  certain  time. ' 


40  A    MARTYR. 

'  And  that  place  ? ' 

'  Is  the  Cape  of  Antibes. ' 

'  Antibes,  do  you  say  I  Bat  Antibes  is  not  a  city  prepared  for  the 
accommodation  of  strangers. ' 

'  1  do  not  mean  Antibes  itself,  but  the  Cape  of  Antibos.  You 
will  find  there  very  nice  villas.  Perhaps  you  may  rent  one.  How- 
ever, I  would  advise  you  to  stop  at  tlie  hotel.  It  is  an  immense 
palace  where  you  will  find  all  the  modern  conveniences  and  com- 
forts. ' 

*  Do  you  think  we  will  find  room  there  ? '  asked  the  countess. 

'  You  certainly  will  at  this  season  of  the  year.  If  you  had  arrived 
one  month  earlier  the  case  would  have  been  different.  But  at  the 
end  of  the  season  the  great  aflluence  of  people  has  necessarily  dim- 
inished.' 

*  So  much  the  better.     When  shall  we  go,  doctor  ? ' 

*  As  soon  as  possible,  since  M.  de  Moray  is  able  to  undertake 
the  voyage. ' 

'  Then  we  shall  go  to-morrow. ' 

The  consultation  was  ended,  and  the  doctor  went  away.  The 
next  day,  M.  and  Mme.  de  Moray  took  the  ten  o'clock  express  to 
Antibes  itself.  From  there  a  carriage  took  them  to  the  Hotel  of 
the  Cape,  distant  about  one  league  from  the  station.  The  travellers 
found  everything  such  as  the  doctor  had  described,  and  they  were 
very  glad  to  have  obeyed  him  blindly. 

Laura  and  Roger  had  not  come  alone  to  the  cape.  Mme.  de 
la  Marche,  after  hesitating  a  little,  had  decided  to  accompany  them. 
It  was  painful  for  her  to  remain  away  from  her  husband,  even  for 
one  month,  but  she  could  not  leave  her  children  so  quickly,  after 
their  long  and  painful  separation. 

The  exigencies  of  our  tale  have  obliged  us  to  delay  the  attention 
of  our  readers  longer  than  we  had  expected  en  mere  questions  of 
health.  But  we  had  to  explain  the  reasons  which  forced  the 
heroes  of  this  drama,  either  in  Italy  or  India,  to  start  for  France  at 
a  given  hour.  That's  what  we  have  done.  We  had  also  to  explain 
the  motives  which  prevented  M.  and  Mme.  de  Moray  from  coming 
directly  to  Paris,  and  forced  them  to  remain  for  two  months  on  the 
Mediterranean  coast.  Knowing  that  they  were  to  remain  some 
time  at  the  hotel,  the  count  and  his  wife,  as  also  Mme.  de  la  Marche, 
made  themselves  as  comfortable  as  possible.  They  occupied  splen- 
did rooms  on  the  first  floor,  and  from  their  windows  the  view 
was  beautiful.  In  the  gardens  which  surrounded  the  hotel,  and 
in  the  field  which  extended  as  far  as  the  sea,  the  orange  and 
lemon  trees  intermingled  their  flowers  and  their  perfumes,  whilst 
the  palm  trees,  like  fans  artistically  cut,  waved  gracefully  in  the 
breezes  from  the  sea.  All  this  marvellous  prospect  was  animated 
by  the  occupants  of  the  hotel.      Women    and  children  increased 


A   MARTYR.  41 

the  attraction  of  the  scene  by  the  music  of  their  lauyhter  and  the 
charm  of  their  beauty  and  their  elegance.  In  the  eveningall  theguests 
were  united  at  the  dinner  table,  and  after  dinner  they  all  found  them- 
selves in  the  elegant  drawing-rooms,  sparkling  with  lights,  full 
of  flowers,  and  resounding  with  music.  Concerts  and  balls  suc- 
ceeded each  other  in  the  animation  of  pleasure,  and  were  almost 
princely  in  their  display,  the  society  residing  at  the  cape  being 
recruited  from  all  the  aristocracies  in  the  world, — aristocracies 
of  birth,  of  art,  of  fortune,  and  of  beauty.  Everybody  spoke 
French,  but  this  charming    French    spiced    by  a  foreign     accent. 

We  are  of  those  who  believe  in  Providence  more  than  in  chance. 
So  we  will  hold  Providence  responsible  for  the  meetings  which 
awaited  M.  and  Mme.  de  Moray  at  the  cape. 

At  the  public  table,  on  the  very  first  days  of  their  arrival,  they 
found  themselves  seated  beside  a  woman  whose  elegance,  perhaps  a 
little  too  luxurious,  and  whose  beauty  attracted  the  attention  of 
everybody.  This  woman  was  accompanied  by  a  man,  who  at  first 
Laura  and  Roger  thought  her  husband,  but  on  enquiry  M.  de 
Moray  found  out  that  they  were  Italians,  brother  and  sister  ;  that 
the  man  was  called  Annibal  Palmeri,  and  the  woman  was  a  young 
and  wealthy  widow,  the  Duchess  de  San  Lucca. 

Our  readers,  who  have  seen  Gorgon  and  Peppo  leave  Naples  in 
such  a  pitiful  e(|uipment,  will  perhaps  not  be  sorry  to  know  how 
they  find  them  to-day  at  the  Cape  of  Antibes,  surrounded  with  all 
the  prestige  which  folktws  a  great  name  and  an  immense  fortune. 
It  was  about  one  year  since  the  two  Bohemians  had  left  Naples  for 
France.  They  had  about  five  hundred  francs  left  out  of  the  thou- 
sand they  had  procured,  God  knows  how,  on  the  day  they  started. 
They  stopped  at  a  small  hotel,  next  door  to  the  house  occupied  by 
the  judiciary  administrator,  M.  Renouard.  An  hour  after  their 
arrival,  they  called  on  him,  and  made  themselves  known. 

The  reader  will  remember  that  the  chief  of  the  record  oftice  of 
Naples  had  officially  notified  the  business  n)an  of  Paris  of  the  early 
arrival  in  that  city  of  the  children  of  Antonio  Palmeri,  nephew  an<l 
niece  of  the  deceased.  Peppo  and  Gorgon  spoke  French  well 
enough  to  be  understood  in  that  language  (one  can  learn  a  little  of 
everything  in  the  streets  of  Naples),  and  they  soon  came  to  an 
agreement  with  M.  Renouard,  who  made  no  difficulty  in  putting 
them  in  possession  of  the  estate,  all  their  papers  being  regular,  and 
their  identity  established  beyond  question  by  the  famous  passports 
fcjrged  by  Peppo.  To  put  them  in  possession  of  the  estate,  we  have 
said  ;  this  expression  has  to  be  rectified  because  the  will  of  the 
testator  declared  Annibal  the  only  heir  of  the  whole  fortune. 

'  What  does  that  mean  I '  asked  Gorgon. 

'  The  chief  of  the  record  office  at  Naples,  a  very  worthy  man, 
who  enjoys  an  excellent  reputation,'  added  Peppo,  si)eaking  thus 


42  A  maetyr: 

impudently  of  himself  in  those  eulogistic  terms,  '  the  chief  of  the 
record  office  has  told  us  that  you  had  asked  him  to  give  him  certain 
information——' 

'  Oa  the  surviving  heirs  of  the  late  Palmeri  :  that  is  quite  cor- 
rect,' answered  M.  Kenouard,  '  but  it  is  also  quite  correct  that  the 
testator,  who  had  amassed  that  immense  fortune  by  dint  of  hard 
work,  did  not  want  it  divided,  lessened,  and  finilly  reduced  to  thci 
proportions  of  an  ordinary  fortune.' 

'  Ten  millions  is  nice,'  observed  the  Neapolitan. 

*  Yes,'  said  M.  Renouard,  laufjhing,  '  but  twenty  millions,  is 
more  than  nice,  it  is  very  nice — and  M.  Giacomo  Palmeri,  who 
gloried  in  this  fortune,  which  was  the  work  of  his  life,  did  not  wish 
it  to  be  mutilated  by  dividing  it  in  halves.  So  that  he  decided  that 
the  twenty  millions  would  belong  exclusively  to  his  brother 
Antonio,  if  he  were  still  alive,  or  to  his  nephew  Annibal,  in  case 
your  father  had  ceased  to  live,  and  finally  to  his  niece  Claudia,  in 
case  you  were  dead . ' 

'  Then,  from  what  you  have  said,  Antonio  Palmeri,  our  father, 
being  dead,  the  whole  fortune  belongs  to  me  alone,'  cried  Annibal 
joyfully. 

'  To  you  alone  ;  on  condition,  adds  the  testator,  that  you  will 
give  a  handsome  wedding  portion  to  your  sister. ' 

'  Everything  is  for  the  best,'  said  Claudia,  smiling  calmly. 

And  as  Peppo  looked  at  her  with  surprise. 

*  We   shall  agree  very  well  together,'  she  said,  'the  tie  of 

fraternity  which  binds  us  is  more  powerful  than  all  the  wills  in  the 
world.' 

'  A  tliousand  times  more  powerful,'  hastily  answered  Peppo,  who 
had  unciurstood  that  the  word  :  fraternity,  accented  as  it  had  been 
by  Gorgon,  meant  complicity. 

'  Between  us  two,  there  is  only  one  will,'  said  Claudia. 
•  '  Onlj'  one,'  assented  Peppo. 

'And  that  will  is  mine,'  thought  Gorgon, 

Peppo  luunbly  bowed  his  head,  and  both  left  the  office.  Success 
being  assvired,  Peppo  proposed  to  his  sister  to  rent  tine  rooms,  but 
she  opposed  his  project. 

'  No,'  she  said  ;  '  no  lodgings.  We  do  not  exactly  know  what  our 
situation  will  be.  The  first  thing  wanted  is  a  wardrobe  which  will 
give  us  an  aristocratic  air.  We  will  move  from  this  inn,  which  re- 
calls to  my  mind  the  locanda  of  the  suburb  of  Capodimonte,  to  the 
Grand-Hotel.  I  am  told  that  all  strangers  of  distinction  stop  there. 
So  our  place  is  there.' 

Once  installed  at  Gorgon's  desire,  they  started  in  search  of  the 
famous  wardrobe  they  needed.  With  money  one  can  do  many 
things  in  Paris  in  twenty-four  hours.  Our  adventurer?  did  not 
spare  money,  and  the  result  was  simply  immense.     They  could  be 


A  MARTYR.  43 

« 

seen  the  next  evening  in  one  of  the  boxes  of  the  Varieties,  for 
which  they  had  paid  twenty-five  pounds  to  a  theatrical  agent,  to  see 
Mmo.  Jddic  in  a  new  play. 

Women,  it  has  often  been  said,  have  a  prodigious  facility  of 
adaptation.  In  any  situation  they  may  be  thrown  by  chance,  they 
seem  to  be  in  their  place.  Intuition  in  their  case  takes  the  place 
of  tdiication,  at  least  if  seen  at  a  distance.  So  the  curiosity  of  the 
theatre-goers  was  at  a  loss  to  exactly  define  tlie  new  star  which  was 
just  appearing  on  the  Parisian  horizon. 

'  A  woman  of  the  demi-monde?  No.  It  is  not  possible,'  said  a 
few.     '  We  would  know  her.' 

'  A  great  'ady  !  Impossible  ! '  said  others.  '  There  are,  how- 
ever elegant  that  splendid  woman  is,  errors  of  orthography  in  her 
dress.     She  wears  too  much  jewellery  for  the  theatre  !  ' 

'  Don't  you  see  she  is  a  stranger,'  said  others. 

'  Stranger,  yes  ;  but  that  does  not  tell  ui  her  si>cial  condition.' 

Gorgon  felt  she  was  the  objective  point  of  all  the  glasses  leveled 
towards  the  box  she  occupied  with  Peppo,  but  she  boldly  sup- 
ported the  ordeal.  Her  superior  intelligence  made  her  almost  under- 
stand the  nature  of  the  conversation  going  on  below.  Tlie  disdainful 
gestures  of  the  men  and  their  smiles  convinced  her  that  their  ob- 
servations were  not  of  a  flattering  nature.  Her  vanity  was  oflleuded, 
.and  at  times  she  had  a  foolish  desire  to  cry  out  to  all  those  people 
who  were  staring  at  her. 

'  I  am  not  the  one  you  take  me  for,  apes  that  you  are  !  I  am  the 
Duchess  de  San  Lucca,  the  greatest  and  the  richest  heiress  of 
Italy  ! ' 

.\nd  truly,  so  sincere  was  her  pride  that  in  speaking  thus,  she 
thought  she  was  speaking  the  truth.  In  forty-eight  hours  she 
had  forgotten  that  her  name  was  Gorgon,  and  that  but  a  few 
months  before  she  was  a  ballet  girl  at  the  theatre  San  Carlo,  in 
Naples.  On  the  other  hand  Peppo  understood  nothing.  He 
seemed  to  be  intoxicated  by  the  pleasure  of  exciting  so  much 
curiosity.  He  leaned  forward  on  the  fr-nt  of  the  box,  so  that 
he  could  be  seen  to  better  advantage.  Gorgon  forced  him  to  re- 
tire in  the  shade,  and  even  went  away  on  his  account,  before 
the  spectacle  was  over.  A  second  attempt,  made  under  similar 
circumstances,  did  not  succeed  better  than  the  first  (Jorgou  was 
intelligent,  we  have  often  said.  She  soon  found  she  had  made  a 
mistake,  and  resolved  to  follow  another  road. 

'Three  more  evenings  like  this  one,'  she  said  to  her  brother, 
'  and  we  will  become  impossible  m  Paris.  I  am  quite  willing  thrit 
we  should  enjoy  ouiselves,  but  we  must  do  it  with  less  noise.  If 
you  are  willing,  as  I  am,  to  gain  a  high  place  in  society,  we  must 
manage  with  more  cleverness.' 


44  A   MARTYR. 

This  conversation  took  place  on  the  very  day  M.  Renoiiard  gave 
to  the  pretended  Annibal  and  Claudia  Palmeri  the  titles  «and  bonds 
of  all  sorts,  which  constituted  a  fortune  almost  princely.  Intoxi- 
cated by  this  triuin[)h  due  to  his  ability,  the  Neapolitan  formed  the 
project  of  dazzlin<(  and  conquering  Paris.  He  put  on  the  airs  and 
assumed  the  attitude  of  the  gladiator  who  defies  the  gaping  crowd. 
Gorgon  shrugged  her  shoulders. 

'  1  have  been  thinking  a  go(jd  deal  these  last  few  days,'  she  said, 
'and  I  begin  to  see  my  way  clear.  We  are  acting  like  clowns,  that's 
all.  With  all  our  millions  we  will  reach  nothing,  tinless  we  can  get 
hold  of  some  family  who  will  take  charge  of  us.  The  question  is 
to  find  that  family.' 

'  There  are  plenty  of  people  in  Paris  who  will  be  only  too  glad 
to  pilot  us,'  said  Peppo,   striking  his  pockets  full  of  gold. 

'  Yes,'  answered  his  sister  with  contempt,  '  they  will  pilot  us 
like  the  guides,  who  will  show  you  all  that  can  be  seen  for  five 
francs,  but  they  will  not  introduce  us  in  any  of  the  drawing 
rooms  where  the  admission  is  free.  They  are  not  the  people  wo 
want.  We  must  find  genuine  representatives  of  the  true  no- 
bility.' 

'Well,'  said  the  young  man,  philosophically,  '  you  can  manage 
those  things  according  to  your  own  ideas.  Provided  I  have  a 
good  house  and  a  good  table,  pretty  women,  and  fast  horses,  I 
am  perfectly  happy.' 

Gorgon  looked  at  him  with  contempt.  The  baseness  of  his 
character  humiliated  her. 

*  And  he  calls  himself  my  brother  ! '  she  said. 

*  Well,'  said  the  Neapolitan,  '  we  have  had  the  same  mother, 
I  think.' 

'The  same  mother,  yes,  but  perhaps  that  is  all,'  muttered  the 
pretty  girl,  caring  but  little  about  the  oftensive  doubt  she  was 
casting  on  the  memory  of  the  ex-dancer,  who  had  died  in  a  hos- 
pital one  winter's  night. 

Be  that  as  it  may  they  suddenly  modified  their  manner  of  living. 
They  bought  a  house  near  the  plain  Montceau,  in  the  name  of  the 
Duchess  de  San  Lucca,  and  they  moved  into  it  as  soon  as  a  fashion- 
able upholsterer  had  furnished  it.  As  the  new  millionaires  had  given 
him  full  powers,  and  he  happened  to  have  good  taste,  their  instal- 
lation was  all  that  could  be  desired.  From  the  stables,  filled  with 
fine  horses,  and  the  cellars,  full  of  good  wine,  to  the  drawing  rooms, 
provided  with  furniture  of  the  old  style  and  the  gallery,  hung 
with  masterpieces,  everything  was  perfect. 

'The  cage  is  pretty,'  said  Gorgon  to  her. brother.  .  'Now  the 
birds  must  learn  to  sing. ' 

And  masters  of  all  kinds  were  called  in  to  give  lessons  to  these 
strangers,  who  confessed  without  shame  their  desire  to  learn  the 


A   MARTYR.  45 

niannors  of  the  Pariaian  aristocracy.  Peppo  did  not  like  the  school- 
ing he  had  to  submit  to,  but  he  resigned  hiniself  to  it,  thus  acknow- 
ledging the  superiority  of  his  sister.  In  the  evening  he  would  fre- 
quent the  public  places  until  the  hour  he  could  go  into  one  of  those 
low  clubs  whose  doors  are  always  wide  open  to  those  who  have 
plenty  of  money.  In  those  doubtful  clubs  where  he  was  received 
with  open  anus,  Annibal  Palmeri  had  made  the  acquaintance  of  a 
few  gentlemen  attracted  there  by  the  love  of  gambling.  One  night, 
after  coming  out  of  the  club,  Annibal  had  entered  a  restaurant  in 
the  company  of  the  Martjuis  de  Roquevaire.  The  manjuis,  who  was 
about  thirty  years  old,  belonged  to  one  of  the  best  families  of  the 
St.  (Jermain  suburb.  Being  very  sceptical,  he  was  not  particular 
about  his  social  relations,  so  long  as  those  relations  were  only  casual 
meetings,  at  the  theatres,  at  the  club,  or  even  in  the  huuduirs  of 
gallantry.  Put  he  was  merciless  ^  hen  there  was  any  attempt  to 
force  open  the  doors  of  true  sociei ,  by  the  upstarts  who  from  all 
quarters  of  the  world  are  continually  alighting  in  Paris.  Peppo, 
taking  advantage  of  their  familiarity,  confessed  himself  to  the 
mar(iuis,  and  told  him  of  the  difficulties  his  sister  and  he  himself 
foinid  in  gaining  an  entree  int)  society. 

'  And  my  sister  is  the  wido>v  of  the  Duk  de  San  Lucca  I '  he 
added. 

The  mar([uis  was  frank. 

'  j\Iy  dear  sir,'  he  said,  since  you  want  to  know  the  truth,  I  will 
tell  it  to  you.  You  understand  that  people  like  the  duchess  and 
yourself  do  not  pass  unnoticed.  The  name  you  bear,  the  fortune 
you  have  inherited  from  old  Palmeri,  and  chiefly  the  beauty  of  your 
sister  have  drawn  enough  attention  to  you  during  the  past  month 
to  cause  eiKjuiries  to  be  nuide.  You  are  well  known,  and  certainly 
you  are  very  honorable  ;  but  then,  such  as  you  are,  you  were  wrong 
in  trying  to  enter  too  suddenly  into  our  world.  You  would  have 
succeeded  better  by  taking  a  circuitous  path.' 

'  But  how  ]  ' 

'  F(jr  example,  by  niixing  with  the  high  cosmopolitan  society 
which  is  not  so  exacting  as  ours,  and  where  we  recruit  every  now 
and  then.' 

'  And  where  will  we  find  that  high  cosmopolitan  society  ?  ' 

'  Oh  I  almost  everywhere,  chietly  in  bathing  places.  In  summer 
at  Dieppe  or  TrouviUe  ;  in  winter  at  Nice  or  some  other  point  on 
the  Mediterranean  coast.  If  you  take  my  advice,  my  dear  sir,  you 
will  spend  the  remainder  of  the  season  at  Monaco.' 

Next  day,  at  breakfast,  Peppo  told  his  sister  the  conversation  he 
had  had  the  night  before  with  M.  de  Roquevaire.  Gorgon  was 
thoughtful  for  a  moment. 

'  The  advice  is  good,'  she  said,  '  and  we  must  follow  it.  By  the 
way  where  does  your  marquis  live  ? ' 


46  A  MARTYR. 

'  I  don't  know.     Why  do  you  ask  ? ' 

'  Because.' 

And  without  farther  explanation  the  duchess  wrote  a  few  lines 
rapidly. 

'  Here,'  she  said,  '  jjivo  this  to  your  friend,  in  the  gambling  hell 
where  you  meet  him.' 

One  s!  ould  have  hoard  the  tone  with  which  she  pronounced  those 
two  words  :  yuiir  friend !  A  friend  !  this  ^reat  lord  one  could 
meet  only  in  disteputable  society,  and  whose  address  was  not 
known  !  In  truth,  was  it  worth  while  to  play  such  a  terrible  game 
not  to  bo  further  advanced  after  a  strujjgle  of  six  months'  dura- 
tion ! 

Peppo  did  not  understand  the  heart-broken  irony  of  the  remark. 

'  My  friend  !  \ny  friend  !'  he  said,  *  not  so  much  !\s  all  that.  The 
u;arquis  is  a  very  good  fellow,  and  he  is  even  the  only  one  who  has 
given  us  good  advice,  because  this  is  good  advice,  is  it  not  ? ' 

'Excellent!  ' 

'  And  what  do  you  write  to  my  friend  ? ' 

*  I  ask  him  to  come  and  see  mo.' 

'Ah  I  bah  !  look  here  !     Would  you  ? ' 

Gorgon  looked  at  him  with  contempt. 

'Here,'  she  said,  'you  will  never  be  anything  but  sx  facchino  ! 
If  I  wanted  the  marquis  for  a  husband,  or  even  for  a  lover,  would 
I  write  to  him  1 ' 

'  Come,  calm  yourself  !  I  was  only  joking.  It  appears  we  mast 
not  tritio  with  the  virtue  of  the  Duchess  de  San  Licca  ! ' 

'  With  her  virtue,'  cynically  answered  Gorgon,  '  as  much  as  you 
like.     With  her  pride,  never  !     Remember  this  once  for  all.' 

The  letter  which  Annibal  Palmeri  gave  the  same  evening  to  his 
friend  was  very  short.  Three  or  four  lines  only,  by  which  the 
Duchess  de  San  Lucca  asked  the  Marquis  de  Roquevaire  to  be  so 
kind  as  to  call  on  her  the  next  day,  at  five  o'clock.  At  the  hour 
appointed  the  marquis  called  on  the  duchess,  puzzled  as  to  what 
she  had  to  communicate  to  him. 

'  Here  I  am,  duchess,'  he  said,  as  he  entered,   '  to  your  orders.' 

'  We  will  see  directly,'  answered  Gorgon,  motioning  him  to  sit 
down. 

And  she  approached  the  question  squarely.  Hit  brother  had 
told  her  the  conversation  they  had  at  the  restaurant  and  had  re- 
peated the  advice  he  had  received. 

'  M.  Palmeri  has  been  very  indiscreet,'  said  the  marquis  embar- 
rassed. '  There  are  certain  things  which  are  said  between  men, 
and  which  must  not  be  repeated  to  a  woman.'   • 

*  Do  not  regret  my  brother's  treachery,'  said  the  beautiful  Claudia 
plainly.     *  It  has  given  me  the  proof  that  in  you  1  have  a , ' 

*  An  admirer,'  said  M.  de  Roquevaire,  not  knowing  what  the 


A    MAHTVR.  47 

ducheaa  wanted,  and  placing  himself  voluntarily  on  the  ground  of 
commonplace  gallantry. 

The  duchess  bit  her  lips. 

'  I  was  going  to  say  a  friend,'  she  replied,  *  but  since  you  did  not 
see  fit  to  use  that  word,  1  shall  simply  say  a  protector,' 

'  Oh  !  '  answered  M.  de  lloquevaire,  '  the  word  is  tof)  humble  not 
to  be  full  of  pride.  Come,  tell  me  what  I  can  do  for  you,  and 
whatever  it  may  be  I  shall  do  it  with  pleasure.' 

'  You  can  be  very  useful  to  me.  I  have  decided  to  pass  the  win- 
ter in  the  south.' 

'  Well,  you  are  right,'  frankly  said  the  marquis.  *  It  is  really  a 
pleasure  to  counsel  a  woman  who  listens  to  advice.  Whore  will 
you  go  ? ' 

'  To  Monaco,  since  it  is  your  opinion,' 

'Well,  I  was  wrong.  Go  through  Monac^).  Do  not  remain 
there.  Try  the  stations  of  the  coast-line,  one  after  the  other.  When 
you  have  found  the  psychological  sojourn,  if  you  will  allow  the  ex- 
pression, pitch  your  tent.' 

'  But  by  what  signs  shall  I  recognize  that  pshychological  so- 
journ /  ' 

'Oh,  I  leave  that  to  your  acuteness,*  said  the  young  man,  laugh- 
ing. 

'  I  shall  do  the  beat  I  can.  Oh  !  will  you  do  me  another  favor. 
You  are  surely  acquainted  with  some  of  the  most  influential  mem- 
bers of  this  foreign  colony  through  which  you  advise  me  to  pass  be- 
fore entering  into  your  world,  which  is  rigorously  sealed,  and  into 
which  I  have  the  ambition  to  enter,  (mly  becauso  the  door  is  closed . 
There,  at  least,  could  you  introduce  me  ? ' 

The  marquis  was  looking  ah  the  beautiful  young  woman,  and  he 
could  not  help  feeling  &  -secret  sympathy  with  her  ambition.  The 
bea\ity  of  the  duchess,  dazzling  as  it  was,  was  only  an  accessory  to 
the  real  admiration  she  inspired  him  vvith. 

'  You  are  a  real  woman  ! '  he  said,  kissing  her  hand. 

'  And  I  want  to  bec<mie  a  real  duchess,'  she  replied,  withdrawing 
her  hand,  where  the  kiss  lingered  too  long. 

'  The  devil  take  me  if  I  don't  help  you,'  cried  the  young  man, 
smiling,  '  so  you  will  have  the  letters.  You  will  have  to  do  the 
rest,  remembering  that  every  road,  as  the  proverb  says,  leads  to 
Rome.' 

'  No,  not  to  Rome,'  said  the  duchess,  as  he  was  taking  leave. 
'To  Paris,' 

The  plan  so  quickly  conceived  was  as  rapidly  executed.  A  few 
days  after,  the  duchess  left  Paris  for  the  south  with  her  brother, 
and  within  a  month  she  had  visited  all  the  principal  stations  of  the 
coast.  However,  she  pleased  herself  nowhere.  At  Manton,  there 
were  too  many  invalids,   Nice  was  too    windy,    Cannes  too  wet  ; 


48  A   MARTYR. 

Hyfcres  and  St.  Rapliael  did  not  please  lier  for  other  causes.  One 
day  chance  brought  her  to  the  Cape  of  Antibes,  and,  as  she  found 
tlie  country  delightful,  she  at  once  resolved  to  live  there. 

At  the  cape,  as  everywhere  else,  the  letters  of  tlie  niar(iui3  had 
produced  'leir  eHect.  As  they  were  addressed  to  a  Uussian  prince, 
to  the  son  if  a  lord,  and  to  agrand  ccjusin  of  Queen  Isabella  of  Hour- 
bon,  the  beautiful  Neapolitan  soon  found  herself  the  reigninij 
leader  of  a  small  court,  which  soon  augmented,  as  oven  the  moat 
elegant  women  of  the  colony  sought  the  acciuaintance  of  a  duchess 
BO  young,  so  beautiful,  and  so  wealthy.  Soon  Gorgon  had  no  other 
occupation  than  to  limit  the  ever  increasing  number  of  her  admirers. 
In  her  turn  she  showed  herself  hard  to  please. 

During  the  few  winter  months  she  passed  at  the  hotel  of  the  cape, 
where  she  lived  in  the  rooms  occupied  the  year  before  by  a  royal 
princess  of  England,  she  saw  before  and  around  her  all  the  most 
aristocratic  idlers  of  Ein-ope.  And  still  there  was  a  shadow  over- 
hanging this  magnificent  tableau.  There  was  no  French  society 
there.  All  those  peoi)lo  who  had  come  to  the  cape  for  a  few  days 
did  not  belong  to  the  8t)ciety  in  which  she  had  resolved  to  enter  at 
any  cost.  It  is  because  the  French  peoj)le,  those  at  least  she  wanted 
to  con(iiier,  have  not  the  cosmopolitan  habits  of  other  nations. 

Time  was  passing  away  and  the  season  was  drawing  to  an  end. 
The  Duchess  de  San  Lucca,  totally  discouraged,  was  thinking  of 
going  away.  She  had  already  announced  her  intention  to  her 
brother,  who  was  thrown  into  despair  at  the  thought  of  leaving. 
Annibal  found  himself,  at  the  cape,  the  happiest  of  men.  Carried 
into  the  orbit  of  his  sister,  like  a  faithful  satellite,  he  had  shared 
her  pleasures  and  her  successes.  He  had  also  had  a  few  good  fortunes 
of  which  he  was  veiy  proud. 

'  Where  will  we  find  a  better  place  than  this  one  ? '  he  asked.  '  A 
splendid  country  !  beautiful  women  !  What  more  do  you  want,  my 
dear  ?  ' 

Gorgnn  did  not  deign  to  answer,  except  to  tell  him  that  since  he 
amused  himself  so  much,  he  had  better  take  advantage  of  it  during 
the  few  remaining  days. 

'  We  shall  go  in  three  days,'  she  had  said,  in  a  tone  which  did  not 
admit  of  a  reply. 

This  conversation  had  taken  place  on  the  very  day  of  the  arrival 
at  the  hotel  of  the  Count  and  Countess  de  Moiay  and  of  Mme.  de 
la  Marche.  The  noise  made  in  the  rooms  next  to  hers,  which  were 
being  prepared  for  them,  attracted  her  attention,  and  she  instructed 
her  maid  to  en(juire  who  these  travellers  were.  M.  de  Moray's 
name  did  not  afford  her  any  information.  The  count,  having  passed 
the  greater  part  of  his  life  in  the  ccdonies,  was  a  stranger  to  her.  It 
was  not  so  when  she  learned  that  Mme.  de  Moray  was  the  daughter 
of   Mme.  de  la  Marche,  and  that  the  latter  had  come    with   the 


A    MARTY n.  49 

count  and  coiintesa.  The  fame  of  the  adiniral's  wife  was  such  that 
no  one  could  possibly  ignore  it.  We  have  already  said  so,  the  name 
she  bore  was  universally  known,  and  the  duchess  had  heard  it  oftep. 

Tli«!  beautiful  Neapolitan  was  startled  by  the  n(>ws  brou;^dit  by 
the  maid.  Was  it  at  the  very  m(»ment  that  she  was  ^oing  to  i,'ivo 
up  the  tij-'ht,  that  heaven  put  su^.li  a  yreat  cl'aiice  of  victory  within 
her  reacli  ?  The  Admiral  Firmin  de  la  Marche  !  The  Count  and 
Countess  de  Moray  !  What  did  she  care  now  for  a  (pieen's  relative, 
for  lords,  or  for  princes  of  the  Caucasus  or  of  Traiusylvania  /  She 
would  have  given  the  whole  of  them  en  Woe  to  bo  certain  of  making 
a  casual  ac([uaintance  witli  those  French  peoi)le,  who  occupied 
such  a  large  place  in  the  history  and  honor  (jf  their  country.  She 
felt  a  great  emotion  in  going  down  to  dinner  that  evening,  lint 
the  travellers  dined  in  their  own  room,  and  it  was  a  bitter  disap- 
])ointme!it. 

If  the  iidiabitants  of  the  Hotel  of  the  Cape  dined  together  in 
full  dress,  they  always  breakfasted  in  morning  costume,  at  different 
tables.  They  had  the  advantage  of  having  more  independence  to 
settle  the  ocoupatiou  of  the  day.  Hreakfast,  however,  was  al- 
ways over  at  one  o'clock,  and  it  was  usual,  on  leaving  the  dining- 
rooms,  to  go  into  the  large  garden  which  siirrounded  the  hotel. 
They  used  even  to  ride  and  drive  around  the  country  surrounding 
the  hotel,  and  those  who  did  not  feel  inolined  to  go,  looked  on  at 
the  i)reparations  for  the  departure  froui  the  verandah  \  lere  they 
remained  some  time,  deriving  pleasure  from  the  amusement  of  the 
others.  Usually  the  duchess  was  the  first  to  give  the  signal  to  all 
the  promenaders,  and  she  was  always  accompanied  by  a  hirge  es- 
cort, noisy  and  full  of  merriment.  The  day  after  we  have  seen  her 
so  disappointed  at  not  meeting  the  strangers  at  dinner,  she  broke 
her  daily  habiis,  to  the  great  astonishment  of  all. 

'  Amuse  yourst  Ives  without  me,'  she  answered  her  companions. 
'  I  am  a  little  tired  and  I  will  take  a  rest.' 

Annibal  ottered  to  remain  with  her,  but  she  declined  his  pro- 
posal in  a  disdainful  tone.  A  little  vexed  at  the  reception  accorded  to 
his  amiable  attention,  Palmeri  did  not  insist  and  merely  answered : 

•  Just  as  you  wish,  my  dear  !  ' 

Instead  of  going  to  her  room  after  the  dei)arture  of  the  excur- 
sionists, (jorgon  remained  a  moment  in  the  garden,  walking  through 
the  deserted  alleys.  She  was  thinking.  Her  thoughts  were  not  of 
a  very  agreeable  nature,  if  we  are  to  judge  of  them  by  her  actions. 
She  was  striking  the  gravel  of  the  walk  with  the  end  of  her  um- 
brella as  if  in  anger.  It  was  because  she  felt  ashamed  at  her  in- 
ability. To  her  own  eyes  she  appeared  miserable.  To  have  so  many 
trumps  in  her  hand,  and  not  to  have  scored  a  triumph  !  It  was 
pitiable. 


60  A   MARTYR. 

Even  the  attempt  she  had  decided  to  make,  on  the  advice  of  M. 
de  Roquovrtiro,  did  nttt  reach  a  soil  where  the  roots  of  the  wealth 
and  nobility  slie  had  just  ac(|iiired  could  expand  frt-ely.  And  what 
annoyed  her  more  tlian  anything  was  the  discovery  that  she  was  not 
proof  aL;ainst  her  own  discourayemonts.  She  had  arrived  at  a 
crisis,  she  well  know,  when  obstacles,  instead  of  giving  more  energy 
kill  whatever  may  be  left.  The  incidents  of  the  previous  day  had 
nnnorvod  her.  So  her  good  Immor,  her  pleasures,  her  joys  de- 
ponded  on  tlio  whim  of  a  few  travellers,  whether  they  sat  at  the 
same  table  with  her  or  not.  Truly,  it  was  enough  to  cause  one  to 
be  angry  with  one's  self.  She  was  walking,  as  we  have  said,  an- 
xious and  thinking  only  of  her  own  troubles,  when  turning  into  a 
side  avenue  she  almost  ran  against  somebody  coming  in  the  oppo- 
site direction  and  who  had  barely  time  to  step  aside  to  allow  her  to 
pasH.  The  unexpected  motion  recalled  her  attention,  and  hi-r  as- 
tonished look,  like  that  of  a  person  who  is  suddenly  awakened 
from  a  deep  slumber,  vested  on  the  living  obstacle  which  had  nearly 
caused  her  to  stumble.  It  was  a  man  whoso  sight  produced  in  her 
an  emotion  she  had  never  experienced  before.  That  noble  face  on 
which  honor  and  rectitude  were  clearly  depicted,  where  the  author- 
ity of  Command  dwelt  in  spite  of  the  appearances  of  suiFerings 
which  it  l)ore,  that  face  struck  her  more  deeply  than  any  other  she 
had  ever  seen.  Who  was  that  man  ?  She  did  not  know.  Nobody 
had  named  or  indicated  him  to  her — and  still  she  rec(jgnized  him. 
He  was,  she  would  have  wagered  her  life,  the  gentleman  who  had  ar- 
rived the  day  before;'  a  man  who  was  great  by  his  own  achievements, 
and  perhaps  greater  by  the  ties  which  united  him  to  the  family  of 
an  illustrious  soldier.  It  was  the  Count  de  Moray  ;  it  was  the  son- 
in-law  of  the  Admiral  Firmin  de  la  Marche. 

Their  eyes  nut,  attracted  by  a  sort  of  magnetism.  The  searching 
look  of  Roger  de  Moray  tixed  itself  on  the  half  wild  stare  of  the 
Duchess  de  San  Lucca.  The  stoppage  caused  by  their  meeting 
lasted  but  an  instant,  but  that  instant  was  enough  to  embarrass  and 
even  cause  them  both  some  emotion.  The  Count  do  Moray,  at  first 
motionless  for  a  few  seconds,  stood  aside  to  give  more  room  to  the 
fair  promenador,  and  slowly  raised  his  hat.  it  was  not  the  common- 
place and  courteous  bow  which  every  well-bred  man  owes  to  a  woman 
whom  he  mo'^ts  face  to  face.  It  was  the  unccmscious  and  almost 
religious  feeling  which  causes  one  to  uncover  his  head  when  he  sees 
a  work  of  art,  or  when  he  passes  before  a  temple.  The  duchess 
regaining  her  composure  smiled,  inclined  herself  slightly  and  passed 
on.  A  few  stops  further,  at  the  curve  of  the  path,  she  turned 
around.  M.  de  Moray  was  still  standing  in  th6  same  place,  in  the 
same  innnobility,  as  if  transformed  into  a  statue,  looking  at  her  and 
not  even  thinking  of  following  her.  Their  eyes  met  for  the  last 
time.     But  then  their  glances  were  no  more  those  of  two  strangers 


A   MARTYR.  61 

who  had  aatotiished  each  other  a  few  minutes  before,  thuy  were  tlie 
glances  of  two  companions  who  meet  after  a  long  absence.  An 
instantaneous  compact  of  alliance  had  just  been  concluded  between 
them.  When  they  were  separated  by  clumps  of  palm-tn-es,  Gorgon 
rey:aiiied  her  coolness  and  became  again  the  duchess  slie  h;id  ceased 
to  be  for  a  moment.  She  soon  found  herself  in  front  of  the  hotel, 
and  aat  down  in  the  shade  of  the  verandah,  very  thoughtful.  She 
was  then  almost  alone,  having  before  her  the  finest  panorama  in  the 
world,  which  she  was  contemj)lHting  inattentively. 

An  old  lady  whose  features,  bonnet  and  dress  denoted  her  na- 
tionality at  first  sight,  was  seated  beside  her.  This  ladv,  called  Lady 
Helton,  who  was  the  widow  of  a  superior  otHccr  in  the  ICngli.sh  navy, 
tried  to  relieve  her  own  idleness  by  engaging  with  the  iluchess  in  a 
common-place  conversation,  which  wo  must  acknowledge  she  was 
not  in  the  humor  of  keeping  u;>.  Just  at  the  moment  the  beauti- 
ful Neapolitan  intended  to  go  to  hir  room  to  escape  the  prattle 
which  conflicted  with  her  unappeased  emotion,  without  affording 
any  distraction,  two  unknown  women  came  and  sat  down  at  a  short 
distance  on  the  same  terrace. 

'  Ah  !  '  cried  Lady  Helton,  looking  at  these  two  women  through 
her  eye-glass,  '  in  truth,  it  is  she.  Oh  !  I  am  very  h  »ppy  !  In- 
deed ! 

And  rising  hastily  she  went  and  shook  hands  with  the  elder  of 
the  two. 

'  Oh  !  dearMme.  de  laMarche,'  she  said  with  a  pronounced  Eng- 
lish accent,  '  how  happy  I  am  to  see  you  ! ' 

Mme.  de  laMarche,  for  it  was  she,  accompanied  by  her  daughter, 
at  once  recognized  Lady  Helton,  whom  she  had  met  very  often  in 
Paris,  and  e8()ecially  at  the  brilliant  receptions  of  the  English  em- 
bassy. Graciously  acknowledging  her  welcome,  she  introduced 
Mme.  de  Moray  to  Lady  Helton. 

*  I  am  so  happy  to  meet  you  here,'  said  Mme.  de  la  Marche,  with 
her  habitual  sad  smile,  which  suited  so  well  the  d;;^nity  of  her 
features.  *  I  was  afraid  that  the  sojourn  at  the  cape  woald  be  a 
little  lonely  for  my  daughter  and  her  husband.  I  shall  beg  of  you 
to  introduce  them  to  your  relations.' 

*  Oh  ! '  said  Lady  Helton,  *  I  will  make  you  acc^uainted  at  once 
with  a  charming  woman  who  will  make  your  stay  here  more  agree- 
able than  I  could  do  it  myself.' 

Without  waiting  an  answer  to  her  proposition,  the  widow  of  the 
British  sailor  turned  round.  Two  or  three  chairs  only  separated 
the  little  group  from  Gorgon. 

'  My  dear  duchess,'  said  Lady  Helt<m,  '  allow  me  to  present  to 
you  the  wife  of  one  of  the  most  illustrious  of  French  sailors,  Mme. 
Firmin  de  la  Marche,  and  her  daughter,  Mme.  de  Moray,  the  wife  of 
the  governor-general  of  Pondichdry. ' 

Then  addressing  herself  to  her  new  companion. 


52  A   MARTYR. 

'  Mme.  the  Duchess  de  San  Lucca,'  she  said,  '  one  of  the  greatest 
names  of  Italy.' 

The  three  women  bowed  to  each  other  graciously.  The  duchess 
was  the  youngest  of  the  three.  Moreover  she  was  almost  at  home 
in  this  hotel  which  she  had  inhabited  for  several  m:>nth3,  and  of 
wliich  sVie  had  almost  made  a  palace  ;  so  she  got  up  and  went  to 
Mine,  de  la  Marche.  In  that  moment  she  felt  a  yreat  joy.  It  was 
in  the  hope  of  this  meetinu  that  she  had  given  up  her  daily  prome- 
nade.    Chance  had  gratihtd  her  wish. 

The  interview  was  cordial  in  every  way.  Very  happy  at  this  good 
fortune,  which  on  the  first  day  introduced  a  charming  relation  to 
her  daughter  and  her  son-in-law,  Mme.  Firmin  de  la  Marche  de- 
parted from  the  usual  austerity  of  her  manner  ;  as  to  Mme.  de 
Morciy,  while  she  was  forced  to  render  homage  to  the  beauty  and 
grace  of  the  duchess,  she  did  not  feel  attracted  towards  her  with  the 
same  force  which  imj^elled  her  mother.  It  was  a  feeling  she  could 
not  explai"  and  which  she  tried  to  resist,  becavise  she  found  it  un- 
just. The  beautiful  Neapolitiin,  with  the  ease  and  grace  oi  the  most 
accomi)li.shed  woman,  mrde  the  new  ccMiiers  acquainted  with  the 
charms  of  the  country  where  they  had  met  for  the  tirst  time. 

'  Look,  Mme.  de  Moray,'  slie  said,  showing  her  a  large  yreen  nest 
rising  in  the  midst  of  the  gulf,  '  that  is  the  island  of  Ste.  Marguerite. 
How  beautiful  it  is  I  It  is  my  favorite  promenade.  Every  week 
a  little  steamer  comes  for  me.  We  will  go  some  day,  taking  our  pro- 
visions with  us,  and  we  will  breakfast  under  the  pines.' 

As  she  was  saying  these  words,  a  man  appeared  on  the  terrace. 

'  Ah  !  '  said  INIine.  de  la  Marche,  '  here  is  a  companion  who  will 
accept  your  invitation  with  great  pleasure.  Allow  me  to  introduce 
M.  <le  Aloray. 

Then  turning  towards  her  son-in-law. 

'Mme.  de  San  Lucca,  Roger,'  she  continued.  'The  duchess,  my 
dear  child,  is,  it  appears,  the  queen  of  the  Cape  of  Antibes.  Do  not 
fail  to  pay  her  your  respects.  Ah  !  I  also  introduce  you  to  Lady 
Helton.' 

M.  de  Moray  had  left  the  countess  and  her  mother,  after  dinner, 
with  the  intention  of  goiujj;  as  far  as  the  beach,  and  he  had  pro- 
mised to  return  in  half  an  hour.  It  was  during  this  short  promenade 
that  the  unexpected  meeting  we  have  described  above  had  taken 
place.  In  returning  to  the  hotel  he  was  still  much  pre-occupied 
with  the  vision  which  had  appeared  to  him.  He  was  so  much  ab- 
sorbed in  his  thoughts  that  in  coming  near  his  wife  and  Mme.  de 
la  Marche,  he  had  not  noticed  that  those  ladies  were  not  alone.  It 
was  only  at  the  moment  he  was  presented  to  tlia  duchess  that  ho 
recognized  her.  A  violent  emoii(m  shook  him  to  the  bottom  of  his 
heart.  But  happily  it  was  not  noticed.  He  bowed  without  saying 
a  word.     We  have  just  said  that  his  emotion  was  not  noticed,  the 


A   MARTYR.  63 

reader  will  readily  guess  that  we  except  Gorgon.  The  trouble  of 
the  count  could  not  remain  unnoticed  by  her,  who  was  the  direct 
cause  of  it.  She  herself  felt  for  a  moment  the  physical  fever  to  which 
she  had  been  subjected  a  quarter  of  an  hour  before.  But,  better 
prepared  than  the  count  f(»r  this  interview,  she  controlled  herself 
more  easily,  and  she  extended  her  hand  to  him  in  a  most  natural 
way,  without  betraying  any  embarrassment.  However,  neither  the 
count  nor  the  duchess  said  they  had  already  met  in  the  garden 
walk  hidden  from  view  by  the  clumps  of  palm-trees.  It  was  a  secret 
which  they  kept,  and  which  created  a  tie  of  complicity  between 
them.  M.  de  Moray  was  grateful  to  Mme.  de  San  Lucca  for  her 
silence.  He  found  in  it  a  sort  of  mysterious  appeal  for  another 
meeting,  which  thereafter  would  not  be  provoked  by  chance.  All 
the  natural  forces  of  his  being,  hardly  escaped  yet  from  the  mortal 
Indian  fever,  were  allured  by  that  w(»man,  unknown  to  him  less 
than  an  hour  before.  He  was  contemplating  her  voluptuous  beauty 
from  which  were  flashing  out  towards  him  currents  of  magnetic  at- 
tractions.    He  admired  her  and  she  provoked  in  him  a  mad  desire. 

The  conversation  had  become  general  and  the  time  passed  very 
rapidly.  The  large  clock  of  the  hotel  struck  four.  The  countess 
rose. 

'  We  must  go  up  to  our  room  for  a  little  while,'  she  said.  '  Are 
you  coming,  Roger  ? ' 

'No,'  answered  M.  de  Moray.  'The  weather  is  so  beautiful.  I 
shall  rejoin  you  in  a  moment.' 

Mme.  Firmin  de  la  Marche  and  her  daughter  retired,  accom- 
patiied  by  Lady  Helton.  M.  de  Moray  remained  alone  with  the 
Duchess  de  San  Lucca.  Both  were  silent,  but  not  embarrassed.  It 
was  a  silence  made  of  unspoken  demands  and  answers.  Gorgon  was 
the  first  to  break  it. 

'  Why  did  you  stay  ? '  she  simply  asked  in  her  rich  voice. 

'  How  could  I  go  / '  answeied  M.  de  Moray,  making  designs  on 
the  sand  with  his  walking-stick,  so  as  to  avoid  looking  at  her  too 
directly.       '  Yes,  how  could  I  go  without  first  thanking  you  / ' 

'  Thanking  me  !  '  said  the  duchess  with  astonislunent.  '  For 
what]  Because  I  have  told  you  that  the  little  cluster  of  white 
houses,  up  there,  on  the  mountain,  is  called  Grasse,  or  because  [ 
have  told  you  that  there  would  be  a  ball  this  evening  in  the  recep- 
tion rooms  of  the  hotel  ? ' 

'  No  ;  you  are  well  aware  that  it  is  not  for  that.' 

He  raised  his  head  and  let  his  eyes  speak  at  the  same  time  as 
his  lips. 

•  I  have  to  thank  you,'  he  said  with  a  languid  slowness,  '  for 
being  so  beaiitiful,  and  for  doubling  by  your  radiant  beauty  the 
splendor  of  the  nature  which  surrounds  us.' 


64  A   MARTYR. 

Gorgon  did  not  interrupt  him.  It  was  her  turn  to  be  silent,  to 
lower  her  eyes,  and  to  breathe  with  difficulty,  her  fair  bosom  heav- 
ing under  the  gauze  which  barely  covered  it.  M.  de  Moray  con- 
tinued. 

'  Look,'  he  said,  extending  his  arm,  '  look  at  those  mountains, 
those  forests,  those  seas,  and  those  glaciers.  The  grandest  things 
Cirod  has  created  are  there,  under  our  eyes.  But  all  those  splendors 
were  slumbering  in  an  eternal  quietness  but  a  few  minutes  ago,  be- 
fore I  saw  you.  Now,  it  seems  to  me  that  all  these  things, — the 
dazzling  snows,  the  blue  waves,  the  pines  and  the  green  oaks,  the 
porphyry  rocks,  are  full  of  life  and  sing  to  you  a  hymn  of  adoration, 
saying  :  "  It  is  you  who  are  the  most  beautiful,  and  we  admire  you  !  " 
And  I,  the  unknown  of  yesterday,  the  weak  and  feeble  man  ;  I,  who 
feel  so  little  beside  those  immensities,  but  whose  heart  conceives  the 
purity  of  the  snow,  the  storms  of  the  waves,  and  the  burning 
winds  of  the  mbnutaine  which  bond  the  heads  of  the  oaks,  I  thank 
you  in  my  turn  for  being  the  sovereign  beauty  which  fills  my  eyes 
and  intoxicates  luy  soul  ! ' 

In  love  talk  it  is  the  voice  which  very  often  gives  to  the  words 
their  charm  and  persuasion.  Coming  from  anybody  else,  and 
spoken  with  the  accent  of  a  poet  with  long  hair,  this  anthem  of 
passion  would  have  made  the  Duchess  de  San  Lucca  smile.  But 
Gorgon  was  moved  by  a  delicious  feeling,  thanks  to  the  deep  into- 
nation of  the  voice  she  was  hearing  for  the  first  time,  and  which 
vibrated  with  increasing  intensity,  as  each  word  fell  from  his  lips. 
She  never  gave  a  thought  to  the  character  she  had  assumed.  She 
never  asked  herself  what  a  true  Duchess  de  San  Lucca  would  do,  if 
a  man  she  did  not  know  an  hour  before  had  offended  her  in  such  a 
manner,  or  had  oflered  such  homage.  She  abandoned  herself 
wholly  to  the  ravishing  emotion  she  had  never  experienced  before, 
having  never  loved,  and  all  her  reason  was  lost  in  a  delicious  weak- 
ness. 

Anything  else  they  might  have  said  would  have  only  lessened 
the  effect,  shared  by  both,  of  these  hasty  avowals.  They  felt  this 
to  be  so,  and  separated  On  rising  Gorgon  offered  her  hand  to 
her  new  friend,  without  speaking.  M.  de  Moray  took  it  and 
pressed  it  for  a  moment  in  his  own.  This  was,  so  to  speak,  the 
betrothal  of  their  love.  After  this  they  retired,  feeling  that  the 
hour  just  passed  would  be  decisive  in  their  lives.  Neither  knew 
what  engagement  they  had  contracted  towards  each  other.  But 
they  were  well  aware  that  such  flames  cannot  be  stirred  up  without 
provoking,  some  day,  terrible  confliigrations. 

While  the  duchess  had  retired  to  her  room  to  take  a  little  rest, 
Roger  descended  into  the  garden.  He  was  not  ifi  a  state  to  appear 
before  his  wift  without  betraying  himself,  and  took  another  walk 
to  quiet  his   nerves.     Mme.    de  Moray  was  at  her  window,  looking 


A    MARTYR.  66 

on  the  beauties  of  nature,  which  had  awakened  such  passion  in  the 
80»il  of  her  husband.  She  saw  the  count  walking  down  the  path, 
and  she  joyfully  called  her  mother  to  her  side. 

'  Look  at  Roger,  mother,'  she  said.  '  Who  could  believe  he  is 
tlie  same  man  1  have  seen  only  a  week  ago  struggling  in 
agony  ?  God  has  performed  an  unhoped-for  miracle  in  restoring 
him  to  health.' 

•  Yes,'  answered  Mme.  do  la  Marche,  '  God  has  done  it  all.  But 
it  was  by  means  of  your  tenderness  that  IJe  accomplished  the 
prodigy.  Dear  child,  the  love  of  yo'ir  husband  will  reward  you 
amply  for  the  life  you  have  saved  !  ' 

'  I  depend  upon  it,'  said  the  countess,  '  Roger  owes  me  that  love 
if  it  were  only  to  reward  the  sacrifice  I  made  in  leaving  my  daugh- 
ter.' 

A  little  later  the  exciirsionists  returned  to  the  hotel,  and  .\nnibal 
l*almeri  went  up  il6  his  sister's  room. 

'  Well,'  he  said,  *  were  you  lonesome,  little  sister  / ' 

'  No,'  she  said,  *  reassure  yourself.' 

As  the  dinner  hour  was  at  hand  she  began  to  dress.  Was  it 
merely  the  result  of  chance,  or  was  it  by  means  of  a  clever  negoti- 
ation between  Annibal  Palmeri,  acting  under  the  orders  of  his 
sister,  and  the  waiters,  we  are  not  in  a  position  to  say,  but  one 
thing  is  certain  :  two  hours  after,  at  the  dinner  table,  Mme.  de  la 
Marche,  her  daughter,  and  her  son-in-law  were  near  neighbors  of 
the  Duchess  de  San  Lucca. 

The  latter,  after  making  imperious  recommendations  to  her 
brother,  had  presented  him  to  her  new  friends.  At  table  M.  de 
Moray  and  Annibal  were  seated  side  by  side.  The  ice  having  been 
broken  by  a  formal  introduction,  the  two  men  chatted  a  long  time 
over  the  dinner  table.  M.  de  Moray  was  even  gay  in  his  conver- 
sation, and  for  the  first  time  in  many  months,  that  is  to  say  since 
the  day  that  Paulette  had  caught  the  terrible  Lidian  fever,  a  smile 
lit  his  face.  The  countess  noticed  the  transformation  and  she  was 
sincerely  happy,  and  in  the  gratitude  she  felt  towards  her  compan- 
ions, she  tried  to  combat  an  instinctive  sentiment,  which  prompted 
her  to  repulse  their  advances.  In  fact,  a  mysterious  intuition  was 
telling  her  to  mistrust,  for  the  sake  of  her  happiness,  the  beauty, 
and  the  artifices  of  this  Italian  who  was  possessed  of  such  irresisti- 
ble powers  of  8educti(m.  During  the  dinner  and  in  the  evening  she, 
by  powerful  efforts,  restrained  herself,  thinking  it  would  be  unjust 
to  repulse  without  any  serious  motive,  offers  of  intimacy  by  which 
the  mental  welfare  of  the  being  to  whom  she  had  consecrated  a  life 
of  devotedness  and  love  would  be  strengthened.  She  had  noticed 
the  impression  the  Duchess  de  San  Lucca  had  produced  on  the  mind 
of  her  husband,  and  she  was  fri^jhtened  at  the  beginning  of  the  in- 
terview which  had  taken  place  during  the  day  on  the  terrace.     Hut; 


56  A   MARTYR. 

later  she  wa=j  reassured  when  she  saw  her  husband  walkinfj  alone  in 
the  garden,  and  returning  to  her  more  loving  than  he  had  been  for 
a  long  time. 

The  reader  will  remember  that  M.  de  Moray  sincerely  recipro- 
cated the  saintly  and  pure  love  of  his  wife.  He  admired  Laura, 
and  he  loved  her.  So,  in  spite  of  the  fever  which  was  burTiing  his 
veins  on  that  day,  and  which  was  to  return  in  future  every  tinie  the 
duchess  would  come  near  him,  he  felt  himself  protected  against 
Completely  falling  by  the  powerful  roots  of  a  constant  and  undivid- 
ed attacluuent  of  eighteen  years.  The  few  days  which  followed 
brought  to  tlie  Count  de  Moray  the  same  emotions,  even  keener,  if 
possible.  But  wo  repeat  it,  however  provoking  were  the  advances 
of  the  countess,  he  tirmly  fought  against  them.  After  the  surprise 
of  the  first  interview,  he  was  more  reserved  in  his  relations  with 
her.  He  managed  so  as  to  avoid  meeting  her  alone,  taking  care  to 
always  place  between  himself  and  Claudia,  as  a  shield,  the  presence 
of  his  wife.  This  conduct  on  his  part  inspired  the  Neapolitan  with 
sentiments  of  revolt.  She  did  not  understand  how  the  C(Mint,  ex- 
periencing beside  her  certain  emotions,  the  particular  nature  of 
which  could  not  remain  unknown  to  him,  entrenched  himself  in 
such  an  austere  reserve.  She  felt  wounded  in  her  womanly  pride, 
and  perhaps  still  more  in  the  sincerity  of  a  passion  in  wliich,  thanks 
to  her  early  education  and  principles,  she  found  nothing  reprehensi- 
ble. Once  this  rebellion  awakened,  she  resolved  to  spare  nothing 
to  triumph  over  v/hat  she  termed  the  stupid  silliness  of  an  honest 
man.  Only  she  understood  that  she  would  gain  nothing  by  openly 
attacking  that  fortress  of  virtue,  and  she  thought  of  misleading  the 
vigilance  of  her  adversary  in  love.  The  plan  was  well  conceived, 
and  was  destined  to  obtain  an  entire  success,  as  the  reader  will  see. 
For  the  time  being,  Annibal,  who  was  not  an  idiot,  amused  himself 
at  this  comedy.  Gorgon  did  not  put  herself  out  on  account  of  Peppo, 
and  the  more  she  resigned  herself  to  momentary  prudence  with 
others,  the  greater  anger  she  displayed  when  alone  with  her  brother. 

'  Per  Baccho  ! '  said  the  Italian,  one  evening  that  liis  sister  and 
himself  were  alone  in  their  room  and  (Maudia  appeared  still  more 
nervous  than  usual,  'do  you  know  that  I  never  saw  you  in  such  a 
state  /     You  must  be  madly  in  love,  my  dear  !  ' 

*  In  love,'  answered  Gorgon,  looking  daggers  at  him,  'perhaps  so  ! 
It  is  (juite  possible  !  But  at  least  there  is  one  ^hing  I  am  quite  sure 
of,  and  that  is,  T  hate  them  ! ' 

'  \N'ho  /  '  asked  Annibal,  stupefied. 

'  All  of  them  !  Even  the  one  whom  you  say  T  love,  and  who 
hides  himself  like  a  frightened  child  behind  the. petticoats  of  his 
wife,  after  having  shown  me,  on  the  first  day  we  met,  the  purpled 
horizons  of  a  foolish  passion.  Yes,  I  hate  hira.  1  hate  him  for  his 
cowardice  after  his  boldness,  and  I  cannot  forgive  the  oflfence  of  his 


A   MARTYll,  57 

willing  coldness  after  having  forgiven  his  thoughtless  outhuslasm. 
But  one  I  hate  more  than  him,  is  that  woman  to  whom  I  am  sacri- 
ficed, and  who  seems  to  defy  me  from  the  height  of  her  legitimate 
rights  !  Here  !  I  have  often  told  you  that  I  abhorred  all  these  great 
lords  whose  family  pride  closes  their  doors  to  me  ;  well,  I  detest 
her  more  than  all  the  others,  this  great  lady  who  closes  to  me  the 
heart  of  that  man,  and  who,  to  prevent  me  from  entering  it,  has 
only  to  erect  the  phantom  of  her  twenty  years  of  marriage  !  ' 

Palmeri  had  listened  to  this  outburst  with  amazement.  To  tell 
the  truth,  he  found  his  sister  insatiable.  Zounds  !  there  were 
enough  other  men  !  However,  as  he  had  a  solid  affection  for  ( Jorgon, 
he  took  pity  on  her. 

*  Come,'  he  said,  with  the  tone  of  one  speaking  to  an  angry  child, 
'  do  you  want  me  to  help  you  1  ' 

'  Eh  !  what  can  you  do  for  me,'  she  said,  shrugging  her  shoul- 
ders. 

'  More  than  you  think  !  Have  patience,  little  sister  !  With  time, 
one  may  do  a  great  many  things.' 

'  Time  !  '  cried  Gorgon.  '  Have  I  time  ?  Did  they  not  tell  us  of 
their  early  departure  ?  In  fifteen  days  they  will  be  in  Paris,  and 
once  there,  good-bye  !  we  will  not  even  see  them  ! ' 

'  Once  there,'  said  the  Neapolitan,  in  a  tone  of  modest  triumph, 
'  do  you  know  what  I  have  prepared  to  please  you,  I  whom  you  seem 
to  despise,  and  who  only  think  of  helping  you  ?  ' 

'  What  is  it  ? '  asked  Gorgon,  with  avidity. 

'  Well,  once  there,  we  will  all  live  together,  the  Count  and  the 
Countess  de  Moray,  the  old  admiral  and  his  noble  wife,  and,  lastly, 
we  two,  Annibal  Palmeri  and  her  excellency  the  Duchess  de  San 
Lucca.    What  do  you  think  of  that,  little  sister  / ' 

Gorgon  thought  this  was  a  stupid  joke  of  Peppo's.  Her  only  an- 
swer was  a  look  of  anger.     However,  Annibal  insisted. 

'Why,  don't  you  believe  me  i  We  will  all  live  to^ijother  like  a 
troup  of  little  patriarchs,  unless  you  refuse  to  join  us.' 

'  Then  that  story  is  true  ? '  asked  Gorgon,  with  anxiety,  shaking 
his  arm. 

'  What  a  grip,'  said  Palmeri,  disengaging  himself.  '  If  ever  you 
take  hold  of  your  lover  in  that  manner,  he  will  not  leave  you  in  a 
hurry.  Well,  yes,  that  is  true  !  How  many  times  must  I  repeat 
it?' 

'  Then,  explain  yourself.' 

'  It  is  very  simple,'  answered  Annibal,  lighting  a  cigar,  *  you 
know  that  I  am  on  the  most  intimate  terms  with  this  excellent 
Count  de  Moray. ' 

'  Yes.' 

'  As  he  has  not  to  avoid  me  the  same  reasons  which  make  him  run 
away  from  you,  and  that  I  am,  so  to  speak,  something  of  yourself, 
D 


58  A   MARTYR. 

he   is  quite  crazy  after  me.     Of  course  I  pretended  to  think  his 
friendship  very  sincere,  b\it  it  was  only  make-believe  on  my  part.' 
•Go  on  !  Go  on  ! '  she  interrupted,  impatiently. 

*  Then,  we  promenade  together  a  <.'ood  part  of  the  day,  and  while 
walkintr,  we  chat.  In  the  course  of  these  con versnt ions  th''  count 
has  spoken  to  me  of  a  thousand  and  one  thin<j;8,  and  among!»t  others 
of  the  ftiar  heentertains  of  reinainin'jr  ilefmitely  in  Paris,  on  Mccount  of 
his  health.  It  appeiirs  that  it  would  he  very  dangerous  for  him  to 
return  to  India.  So  he  will  stay  in  Paris  ft)r  a  1  aig  time,  perhaps 
for  ever,  and  he  will  occupy  an  old  residence  belonging  to  his  fa  ily 
on  de  Varennes  street.' 

'  1  have  heard  spej.k  of  that  house,  by  Mmo.  de  Moray  in 
fact.' 

*  Well,  as  it  appears  this  mansion  is  very  large,  the  admiral 
Fiiniin  de  la  Marche  and  his  venerable  wife  will  occupy  the  ground 
flitor  of  one  of  the  winys,  while  the  count  and  his  wife  will  lodge 
in  the  first  story  of  the  same  wing.  So  there  remains  another  wing 
and  the  main  body  of  the  house.' 

'And  then?' 

'  Then  I  a.sked  the  count  who  lived  in  this  second  and  more  im- 
portant part  of  the  old  house,  and  he  told  me  that  it  was  vacant, 
the  legation  of  Rouiuania  having  just  moved  out  of  it.  I  forgot 
to  tell  you  that,  this  was  paid  in  the  presence  of  the  old  lady, 
whose  nuijestic  b  'aring  always  intimidates  me.  At  the  news  of 
the  removal  of  the  legation,  news  which  liad  only  arrived  that 
very  morning,  and  which  she  had  not  heard  of,  the  austere  dow- 
ayer  expressed  her  regret,  telling  her  sonin  law  than  it  was  a 
serious  matter,  as  the  rent  was  very  high,  and  a  new  lodger  ditii- 
cult  to  find.' 

'Then,  then  ? '  repeated  Gorgon,  while  her  brother  was  relight- 
ing his  cigar,  which  had  gone  out. 

'  Hold  on  I  There — that's  it — .  Then  I  don't  know  what  prompt- 
ed me  to  invent  an  adventure  exactly  similar,  except  that  it  is 
the  contrary,  and  to  say  that  the  proprietor  of  the  house  we  live 
in  had  givtn  na  notice.' 

'  Why  did  you  say  that  ?  ' 

'  I  don't  know.  A  whim.  And  ju^t  see  how  woU  I  was  inspired. 
Mnie.  de  la  Marche  then  said  ;  "  Well,  M.  Paliieri,  here  is  a  good 
opportunity  to  satisfy  everybody.  If  our  old  suburb  does  not  seem 
too  gloomy  for  the  Duchess  de  San  Lucca,  rent  the  apartments 
rendered  v.icant  by  the  departure  ot  the  legation,  and  let  us  live 
like  uood  neighbors  in  Paris  as  we  do  at  the  Cape  of  Antibes. ' 

'  She  made  that  proposition  ?'  said  Gorgon,  who  could  not  believe 
her  own  ears."  ' 

'  As  I  am  telling  you.' 

'  An  I  wh-.t  did  the  count  say?'  asked  the  beautiful  Claudia. 


A   MARTYR.  59 

'  What  could  ho  say,  except  confirm  his  mother-in-law's  proposal  ? 
Just  think  of  it,  lover  and  proprietor  at  the  same  time.  The  h  ast 
tiling  he  could  do  was  toofl'er  me  a  lease  of  three,  six,  or  nine  years, 
at  the  respecfivo  wishes  of  all  j)artie8,  and  that's  jtint  what  he  has 
done    and  with  eagerness  I  would  have  you  believe.' 

Althou'^'h  apeakinjj  in  a  playful  mood,  Palmeri  wat?  in  earnest. 
Hirt  sistt  r  did  not  doubt  it  now,  but  she  was  troubled.  She  could 
never  find  a  better  CDmbinatittn  for  the  .success  of  her  projects.  The 
intimacy  which  would  certainly  V)e  established  between  them, 
thanks  to  tluir  near  neighborhood,  would  throw  Avide  open  the 
portals  of  that  world,  which  t^o  pride  of  the  upstart  made  her  de- 
sirous of  entering.  And  on  the  other  hand  it  seemed  impossible 
to  her  that,  through  this  f;imiliarity,  IvI.  de  Moray  would  not  come 
out  of  his  stoical  and  absurd  reserve.  Only  one  thing  caused  her 
some  anxiety,  and  that  was  the  consent  of  Mme.  de  INI'jray  to  the 
execution  of  this  project. 

'  .And  she  1 '  asked  Gorgon,  abruptly. 

'Who?' 

*Mme.  de  Moray,  what  did  she  say  i ' 

*At  first  she  could  not  say  anything,  because  she  was  not  pre- 
sent. But  as  I  was  telling  Mme.  de  la  Marche  that  1  would  ppeak 
to  yo\i  about  the  project,  the  count  declared  that  he  would  refer  the 
matter  to  his  wite,  who  is  part  owner  of  the  mansion  with  him,  and 
that  in  any  cnse  he  w(mld  not  take  such  a  determination  without 
consulting  her.' 

'  Bat  did  you  not  tell  me  he  had  accepted  at  first  ? ' 

'  Indeed  he  did  !  and  with  enthusiasm.  But  after  refleciion  he 
asked  me  not  to  say  a  word  about  the  matter  until  he  had  spoken 
to  the  countess.' 

*  And  you  have  stupidly  obeyed  him  ? ' 

'  For  the  following  reason.  Suppose  that  Mme.  de  Moray  would 
not  dare  to  encounter  the  neighborhood  of  a  woman  so  dangerous 
to  the  rest  of  her  husb.ind,  which  would  only  be  very  legitimate, 
what  w.ts  the  use  of  causing  you  the  annoyance  of  a  deception  ?' 

'  You  thought,  then,  that  I  would  accept  1 ' 

'Absolutely.' 

'Well,  you  were  right,'  said  Gorgon,  resolutely.  'Not  only  do  I 
accept,  but  this  project  must  succeed,  audit  will,  even  if  we  have 
to  put  such  a  price  on  the  location  as  will  vanquish  all  difficulties.' 

'  It  is  useless  to  do  that.' 

'  Why  !  ' 

'The  count  took  me  apart  this  evening,  while  you  were  dancing, 
and  he  told  me  that  the  countess  is  willing  to  accept  us  as  tenants, 
provided,  however,  that  it  is  our  intention  to  become  such.' 

'  Yes,  it  is  our  intention,'  said  Gorgon  with  a  wicked  smile,  '  end 
on  this,  as  it  is  two  o'ch)ck  in  the  morning,  go  to  bed.  I  will  think 
of  this  before  going  to  sleep. ' 


GO  A   MARTYR. 

Thoy  shook  liands  and  separated.  The  beautiful  Chiudia  was  a 
lonji  time  in  getting  to  sleep,  and  she  had  ono)igh  leisure  to  think 
of  this  new  combination  and  to  deduce  all  the  consecjuencea  which 
might  arise  out  of  it.  Next  morning,  after  breakfast,  as  everybody 
was  on  the  terrace  of  the  hotel  as  usual,  the  duchess  went  straight 
to  Mme.  de  Moray. 

'Countess,*  she  said,  *  my  brother  has  told  me  last  night  of  a 
project  to  which  you  have  given  your  consent.  Before  taking  a  de- 
termination myself,  I  should  like  to  know  if  the  project  has  re- 
ceived your  assent  without  reserve.' 

Wo  have  said  very  often  that  with  all  her  faults  and  her  vices, 
Gorgon  had  an  eminent  (luality,  bravery.  She  wouhl  have  scorned 
to  wage  war  against  Mme,  de  Moray  without  tirat  warning  her. 
The  countess  would  have  had  only  one  word  to  say,  like  this,  for 
instance  :  '  I  yield  to  the  will  or  to  the  desire  of  my  husband,'  and 
it  is  probable  that  Gorgon  would  have  been  satisti(  I  with  such  a 
victory  without  going  any  further.  But  Mme.  de  Moray  did  not 
make  that  answer.     She  looked  at  the  duchess  frankly,  and  said  : 

'  Why  should  I  not  wish  you  to  come  and  live  beside  us,  almost 
with  us  1     What  would  I  have  to  fear  from  your  presence  / ' 

To  Mme.  de  Moray's  mind,  this  question  signified  exactly  this  : 

*  I  have  discovered  that  my  husband  has  not  remained  insensible 
to  the  power  of  your  beauty.  But  I  confide  the  rest  and  the  joy  of 
my  life  to  your  friendship  and  your  honor.  Can  I  depend  on  them  1 ' 

To  Gorgon's  mind,  on  the  contrary,  this  question  :  '  What  would 
I  have  to  fear  ? '  meant  a  challenge.  She  understood  that  the 
countess  looked  on  her  as  an  unworthy  adversary,  over  whom  she 
would  easily  triumph.  And  it  was  in  that  spirit  that  she  accepted 
the  challenge.  Aa  the  countess  was  tendering  her  hand  when  they 
separated  she  shook  it  in  a  way  which  meant  a  declaration  of 
war.  Fifteen  days  after,  they  all  left  the  Cape  of  Antibes  together 
on  the  same  day,  and  a  few  days  later,  the  Duchess  de  San  Lucca 
and  her  brother  were  installed  in  the  house  on  de  Varennes  street. 


II. 

It  was  with  a  sentiment  of  triumphant  pride  that  Gorgon  left  her 
residence  on  the  plaine  Montceau  to  go  and  dwell  in  the  ancient  habi- 
tation of  the  Count  de  Moray.  The  relations  created  at  the  cape 
being  given,  and  the  conditions  on  which  her  installation  had  been 
accepted,  this  removal  was  equivalent  to  taking  possession.  Now, 
she  was  sure  of  conquering  that  world  which  had  so  persistently  re- 


A   MARTYR.  61 

mained  closed  to  her.  The  doors  of  the  highest  Parisian  society 
would  be  thrown  wide  open  on  her  passage,  when  she  would  ad- 
vance, leaning  on  the  arm  of  Mme.  de  la  Marche,  that  most  power- 
ful impersonation  of  honor.  She  was  sure,  also,  of  overcoming  the 
resistance  which  his  sense  of  duty  interposed  between  the  love  of 
M.  de  Moray  and  herself  ;  the  day  woidd  come  when  his  elevated 
conjugal  honesty,  which  had  mastered  his  passion  after  the  sur- 
prise of  their  first  meeting,  would  succumb. 

In  the  midst  of  all  these  agitations  Annibal  Palmeri  lived  in  a 
sort  of  philosophical  serenity  which  was  exasperating  to  his  sister. 
In  .spite  of  his  early  and  vicious  surroundini^s,  to  which  ho  owed 
some  vulgarity  of  tone  and  manners,  this  Uf^zurone,  transplanted  to 
Parisian  soil,  had  got  a  hold  on  Admiral  de  )a  Marche.  Even  his 
artless  familiarity  had  privileges  of  language  which  would  not  have 
been  tolerated  in  others.  The  adventurer  was  never  disrespectful, 
however,  and  at  times  he  felt  for  the  noble  sailor  a  very  sincere 
admiration,  which  he  acknowledged.  He  even  spoke  of  the  sailor's 
career  with  almost  poetic  exaggeration.  One  day  after  breakfast,  at 
whicli  he  and  his  sister  were  guests,  as  it  happened  very  often,  he 
expressed  himself  with  enthusiasm. 

'  Yes,  Admiral,'  he  cried,  with  his  Italian  animation,  accom- 
panied with  extravagant  ^'Stures,  *  1  have  always  had  a  great  ad- 
miration for  your  noble  calling.  Per  BaccJio  !  To  have  an  entire 
fleet  under  your  orders.  To  command  men  and  tight  the  ele- 
ments.    It  is  splendid.' 

M.  de  la  Marche  smiled,  but  with  a  feeling  of  sadness. 

'  Bah  !  my  dear  M.  Palmeri,  like  every  other  medal,  the  sailor's 
medal  has  a  reverse.' 

*  You  sav  that  !  ' 

'  I  say  that  and  I  also  believe  in  it.  Do  you  see,  whatever  may 
be  the  devotedness  one  bears  to  his  country,  there  are  hours  of  dis- 
couragement when  he  asks  himself  if  the  glory  he  has  won  is  not 
paid  for  too  dearly.' 

This  was  said  in  the  presence  of  all  our  personages.  Mme.  de  la 
Marche  alone  had  retired  to  her  room,  wearied,  probably,  by  the 
noise  that  surrounded  her,  and  which  troubled  her  accustomed 
melancholy.  Mme.  de  Moray  was  chatting  with  her  husband  and 
the  Duchess  de  San  Lucca,  of  indifierent  things  probably,  for  she 
heard  the  remark  of  the  Admiral.  She  was  astonished  at  an  asser- 
tion giving  such  a  flat  denial  to  the  whole  life  of  her  illustrious 
father,  and  she  turned  around  to  interrogate  him. 

'  You  want  to  know,'  she  asked,  '  if  your  glory  has  not  been  paid 
for  too  dearly.     What  do  you  mean  by  that  ? ' 

'Alas!  my  poor  Laura,' said  the  admiral,  'however  brilliant  it 
may  be,  the  exile  of  the  sailor  on  board  his  vessel  is  nevertheless  a 
real  exile,  with  all  the  sorrows  comprised  in  that  word,' 


62  A   MARTYR. 

'  I  do  not  understand  at  all,'  said  Palmeri,  artlessly. 

*  I  will  toll  you,  my  child,*  said  IVI.  de  la  Mirchu,  still  address- 
ing his  dauj^htur,  '  althou^^h  you  have  lived  far  aw.iy  from  us  since 
your  marriage,  you  ciunot  have  forj^otteii  that  you  have  seen,  when 
still  a  young  girl,  the  comuioucement  of  the  sad  melancholy  of  your 
mother  ]  ' 

Tlie  c  )unto33  nodded  afhrmativoly.     M.  do  Moray  intervened. 

'  I  have  often  remarked  the  great  sadness  you  speak  of,  Admiral. 
But  the  deep  respect  I  have  for  you  and  for  the  muther  of  my  wife 
always  prevented  me  from  enquiring  about  it.  What  is  wmtiug  to 
the  happiness  of  Mine,  de  la  Marche  ?  H  is  she  not  a  glorious  hus- 
band ?  a  daughter  whom  she  adi^res  i ' 

*  And  who  adores  her,'  iuterruuted  Mme.  de  M  )ray. 

Gorgon  herself  was  attracted  by  this  convorsa  ion,  and  she  en- 
quired in  her  turn  with  a  sort  of  involuntary  I)itternes3. 

'  His  she  not  evtiry thing  that  is  wanting  in  so  many  others,  a 
name  which  catinot  be  assailed,  a  situation  above  allsinpioion  ? ' 

'  And  cliietiy,'  co;itinued  Mine,  de  Moray,  *a  r'jputation  for  be- 
nevolence and  virtue  sufficient  to  protect  her  against  the  basest  jea- 
lousii'S.' 

'AH  that  is  true,'  answered  the  admiral,  and  he  continued,  with 
a  thoughtful  accent,  as  if  making  a  revitnv  of  his  past  life,  and  al- 
most speaking  to  himself,  '  what  a  light-hearted  young  girl  she  was, 
in  days  gone  by,  when  a  simple  lieutenant,  I  asked  her  father  for 
her  hand  ,  and  later,  Avhat  a  cheerful  young  bride  during  the  first 
years  of  our  married  life  !  After  the  short  cruises  I  used  to  make 
then,  she  was  so  hap[)y  at  each  of  my  returns,  that  the  announce- 
ment of  anew  departure  found  me  strong  to  support  it.  During  the 
first  years,  I  made  only  short  expeditions.  One  day  I  had  to  take 
the  command  of  a  frigate  which  was  sent  to  Madagascar,  where,  as 
everybody  knows,  our  iiiterests  are  not  yet  well  defined.  The 
mission  which  was  confided  to  me  was  difficidt  of  accom[)lishment, 
and  I  riiturned  only  after  three  yea'S.  I  had  left  a  consolation  to 
the  wife  I  was  abandoning  to  serve  my  country.  I  had  left  you  to 
your  mother,  my  beloved  Laura  !  Auil  still,  when  I  returned,  the 
half  widowhood  which  the  sailor's  wife  undergoes  had  done  its 
work  of  sadness  and  mourning.  Tlie  length  of  our  separation  and 
the  anxieties  it  had  brought  to  her  heart  had  been  the  cause  of  a 
dangerous  illness.  It  was  a  cruel  surprise  for  me  to  find  her  so  dif- 
ferent from  what  she  was  on  the  eve  of  my  departure.  Time  and  a 
firm  will  have  arrested  the  progress  of  this  moral  ruin  which  was 
wrecking  my  happiness.  But  the  efiects  already  produced  at  the 
time  of  luy  arriviil  still  exist  ,  and  when  everything  seems  to  unite 
to  ensure  to  the  companion  of  my  life  the  serenity  of  heart,  which 
her  virtues  entitle  her  to,  I  must  witness,  powerless  to  avert  it,  the 
sadnesa  which  you  have  all  remarked,' 


A   MARTYR.  68 

On  these  words  the  admiral  broke  down.  Everybody  felt  thftt  a 
deep  sorrow  had  attickud  the  threat  love  he  boro  to  his  wif.i,  a  love 
miule  of  tliirty-tive  years  of  devotediieas  and  venurition.  i'hey  all 
respDotod  his  emotion  and  very  soon  retired.  .A.nnihal,  in  Hhaluni? 
haiuU  witli  the  admir;il,  excnaod  himself  for  having  luvolnntarily 
awakened  such  sail  memories. 

'They  wore  not  asleep,'  anawered  the  adnnral,  tryini^  to  smile, 
*  they  were  only  silent.  Perhipa  I  am  obliijed  to  you  for  having 
given  me  the  oocasiim  to  spoukof  them.  My  heart  will  be  comforted 
for  flouje  time,  1  hope.' 

Mine,  de  Moray  had  always  been  sfruok  by  the  troubled  state  of 
her  mother'ri  mind,  bu^  she  had  ncjvor  dared  to  ask  for  an  e.xpla- 
nation  which  was  not  offered,  and  it  was  the  first  time  her  father 
had  spoken  so  freely  in  her  prusenco  about  her  mother.  At  the 
onsot  of  the  cotiveraation  she  had  lioped  that  it  would  throw  some 
li^rlit  on  the  causes  of  the  austere  severity  which  had  saddened  her 
youth,  but  she  .soon  found  out  that  the  a<lmiral  did  not  know  any 
more  than  herself.  The  admiral  attributed  the  illness  of  Mme.  de 
la  Marche  to  the  sadness  of  long  separations,  but  this  reason  did 
not  satisfy  her. 

'There  is  certainly,'  slie  thought,  '  somethinr;  my  father  does  not 
know,  and  it  is  a  secret  my  mother  keeps  to  herself  alone.  Why 
has  not  she  more  confidence  in  me  i  Why  does  she  n;)t  reveal  the 
mystery  which  woiglis  on  her  life  ?  It  seems  to  me  that  my  tender- 
ness is  deep  ouoU'ih  to  bring  to  her  suffering  he;irt  the  consolations 
it  yearns  for.  Well,  let  us  have  patience.  Perhaps  an  occasion 
will  present  itself  wlu-n  I  shall  be  able  to  restore  to  her  the  rest  she 
has   lost.  God  knows  I  would  willingly  give  m}  life  for  her,' 

The  occasion,  as  the  reader  will  see,  was  so>n  to  present  itself. 
Since  her  arrival  in  Paris,  Mme.  de  Moray  lived  in  un^at  intimacy 
with  her  mother  ;  she  had  made  herself  as  indispensable  in  her  life 
as  she  could,  trying  to  alleviate  the  weight  of  her  occupations.  She 
was  her  secretary  for  the  numerous  charities  which  solicited  her 
patriin;ige.  It  was  the  Ciinntess  who  opei»ed  the  letters  of  Mme.  de 
la  Marclie,  and  who  answered,  without  even  consulting  her,  except 
in  important  cases,  the  demands  which  were  addressed  to  her. 

On  the  day,  after  the  conversation  wo  have  just  narrated,  she 
went  to  her  work  as  was  her  new  habit,  and  took  the  letters  arrived 
by  the  morning  m  lil.  At  the  third  envelope  she  opened,  a  violent 
eiu(jtion  seized  her.  Laura  read  thit  letter  sevt^ral  times,  trying  to 
think  that  she  had  not  nndiTstood  its  meaning,  and  hoping  that  in 
weii^hing  its  terms  she  would  succeed  in  chan:,'ing  its  import.  But 
whatever  she  trieil,  its  clearness  and  brutality  left  no  room  to 
equivocation.  Although  it  is  somewhat  lengthy,  we  will  reproduce 
it  in  its  integrity.     The  letter  read  thus  : 


G4  A   MARTYU. 

'  To  Mine.  Fitmin  de  hi  Marche, — 

'  A  mail  wliose  name  is  unknown  to  you,  but  who  has  undoubted 
rij^jhts  to  your  benevolenc*',  wiaims  a  moments'  interview.  That  man 
is  myself.  Ami  that  nanu  you  do  not  know  is  mine.  I  call  myself 
Kobert  liurol.  Hut  in  spiio  of  this  vulgar  name,  I  am  the  son  of  a 
baron.  The  son  of  M.  du  Oorpsdieu.  This  little  phrase  of  itself 
must  tell  you  many  things.  I  think  that  you  will  not  desire  much 
to  see  such  a  man  as  1  am  coming  into  your  house  to  revive  the 
associations  which  the  name  of  M.  de  Corpsdiou  will  jertainly  re- 
call to  your  memory.  So  be  kind  enough  to  come  and  see  me.  No. 
20,  Court  of  the  JJrugoun,  in  a  liouse  of  mean  appearance  where  I 
lodge,  in  the  last  room  of  the  last  story.  The  Ccnirt  of  the  Dragoon 
is  only  a  few  steps  from  de  Varennes  street.  Yes,  decidetlly,  I 
think  that  you  would  rather  come  and  see  me  than  receive  nie  in 
your  mansion,  where,  perhaps,  it  would  bo  diftictilt  to  explain  my 
presence  to  the  Admiral  de  la  Marche.  Be  that  as  it  may,  one  day 
or  other,  whether  you  come  to  me,  or  I  go  to  you,  there  is  one 
thing  you  may  be  certain  of  :  it  is  that  your  reputation  of  virtue 
and  your  honor  depends  upon  the  reception  you  will  extend  to  this 
letter  from  your  most  humble  and  most  obedient, 

*  Robert  Bur:el.' 

The  letter  was  evidently  an  attempt  to  blackmail  her  mother  ;  it 
was  odious  ;  it  was  infamous  ;  there  was  nothing  serious  in  it,  and 
Bilence  and  contempt  would  be  the  best  answer  to  it.  Such  was 
the  first  thought  of  Mme.  de  Moray  ;  but  when  she  had  recovered 
from  her  astonishment,  she  commenced  to  reflect  on  its  contents. 
There  was  only  one  thing  to  do  ;  tear  up  the  impure  sheet,  throw 
it  into  the  fire,  and  pay  no  attention  to  it.  But  however  resolved 
Laura  might  have  been  to  carry  this  into  effect,  as  she  was  about  to 
tear  the  letter  she  changed  her  mind.  Since  Providence  had  per- 
mitted, her  to  open  this  cursed  envelope,  it  was  because  Providence 
had  chosen  her  to  find  out  the  mystery  of  this  infamy,  and  to  hide 
the  secret  of  it  from  her  mother.  Yes,  she  would  go  herself  to  this 
rendez-vous  ;  she  would  see  this  Robert  Biirel  ;  she  would  ask  him 
the  explanation  of  his  threats  ;  she  would  crush  him  under  the 
weight  of  her  indignation  ;  she  would  force  him  to  blush,  to  trem- 
ble, perhaps. 

This  resolution  once  taken,  she  was  not  long  in  executing  her  pro- 
ject. Without  speaking  to  anybody,  without  even  calling  her  maid, 
she  hastily  dressed  herself  and  went  out.  The  street  of  the  Dra- 
goon is  only  a  few  steps  from  de  Varennes  street.  A  few  minutes 
after,  Laura  arrived  there,  and  entered  into  the  Court  of  the  Dra- 
goon itself.  She  went  straight  before  her  until  she  reached  the 
number  indicated.     The  house,  older  and  darker  than  the  others. 


A    MARTYU.  66 

had  six  stories.  She  started  to  climb  the  stairs  without  stopping, 
sullbcated  to  some  extent  l)y  the  rapidity  of  her  ascension,  but  still 
more  so  by  the  foul  smells  emanating;  from  every  hole  and  corner. 
More  than  once  she  nearly  fainted.  However,  in  spite  (.f  her  n-pul- 
sion,  she  went  up  until  she  reached  the  last  story,  where  she  found 
a  lo\i(r  papsaj^e  with  doors  openin<^  right  and  left  ;  slie  fcjllowed  this 
passage  to  the  last  door.  Before  entering  her  courage  failed  her  for 
a  moment.  Her  heart  was  beating  as  if  it  was  going  to  break.  She 
thought  she  had  been  foolish  to  come,  and  chiefly  to  come  alone  ; 
that  a  trap  was  set  behind  those  rotten  boards.  *  if  1  should  rim 
away  ? '  she  said  to  herself.  JJut  she  was  ashamed  of  her  instinctive 
terror.  What  could  she  fear  /  And  even  admitting  that  there  was  a 
hidden  danger,  was  it  not  her  duty  to  face  it  in  place  of  her  mother  ? 
Tlie  key  was  in  the  door.  She  did  not  open,  but  knocked.  A  voice 
answered  : 

'  Come  in  ! ' 

One  last  hesitation  ;  one  last  effort  of  her  will.  Abruptly,  the 
courageous  woman  turned  the  key,  pushed  the  door  open,  and  en- 
tered. She  found  herself  in  a  small  room,  furnished  only  with  a 
broken  chair,  an  iron  bedstead,  whose  mattress  had  not  been  shaken 
nor  the  clothes  washed  for  a  long  time,  and  a  rough  table.  Light 
was  obtained  from  a  sky-light  cut  through  the  ceiling.  Laura  at 
lirst  could  distinguish  nothing,  bxit  her  eyes  becoming  accustomed 
to  the  obscurity,  she  soon  noticed  a  man  standing  in  front  of  her. 
He  had  evidently  just  got  up,  for  his  hair  was  in  disorder  ;  he  was 
looking  at  her  with  astonishment.  After  the  first  moment  of  em- 
barrassment on  the  part  of  both  of  them,  the  young  man  opened 
the  conversation. 

*  To  whom  have  1  the  honor  to  speak  ? '  he  said,  contemplating 
with  curiosity  the  noble  woman  who  was  bringing  into  this  miser- 
able room  the  perfume  of  her  virtue,  and  the  radiant  brilliancy  of 
her  beauty. 

Laura  did  not  answer  directly. 

'  M.  Robert  Burel  ?  '  she  said  in  her  turn. 

'  It  is  myself,'  said  the  young  man.  '  Take  the  trouble  to  sit 
down,  madam.' 

And  he  advanced  the  only  chair  which  was  in  the  room.  She 
would  have  preferred  to  refuse  it,  but  since  she  had  come,  she 
thought  it  was  better  not  to  wound  his  feelings,  so  she  sat  down. 
She  was  very  much  astonished.  The  man  standing  before  her  did 
not  answer  to  the  idea  she  had  formed  of  him.  In  spite  of  his 
worn-out  clothes,  and  the  paleness  of  his  face,  which  was  certainly 
due  to  the  misery  and  anguish  of  poverty,  the  wretch  had  the  appear- 
ance and  manners  of  a  man  of  the  world.  His  voice  was  sorrowful 
and  full  of  bitterness.  But  his  language  was  correct,  and  his  in- 
tonation naturally  distinguished. 


GC)  A   MARTYR. 

'  So,  then,  you  are  truly  Robert  Burel  ? '  asked  Laura  again,  not 
noticing',  in  her  trouble  and  her  astoniahment,  that  she  had  already 
asked  the  qut'stion. 

'I  have  had  the  honor  to  tell  you  so  a  moment  ago,'  said  the 
young  man,  smiling.  '  But  you,  madam,  have  not  told  me  who  you 
are. ' 

And  yielding  to  an  old  habit  of  courtesy,  he  continued  with  less 
rudenes!<, 

'  But  I  know,  in  return,  who  you  are  not.  Your  ai;o  and  your 
beauty  cannot  belong  lo  the  person to  a  person  I  was  ex- 
pecting.' 

*  You  mean  Mme.  do  hi  Marche,'  Laura  said  with  emijhasis. 

■  Her.self,'  answered  the  young  man,  bowing  coldly.  '  So,  how- 
ever flattering  your  visit  may  be,  I  am  obliged  to  repeat  my  que?, 
lion  for  the  third  time  :  To  whom  have  I  the  honor  to  speak,  and 
how  is  it  that  JNInie.  de  la  March-j  has  seen  lit  to  send  you  in  her 
])lac3.  It  is  to  her  interest  not  to  mix  a  stranger  in  the  subjects  I 
intended  to  discuns  with  her.' 

'  Mme.  de  la  Marche  does  not  know  of  this  visit,  and  I  h^ipe  she 
will  never  see  the  letter  you  have  written,  and  which  1  have  opened. 
1  am  the  Countess  de  Moray,  the  daughter  of  Mini;,  de  la  Mirche.' 

'Then,'  said  the  young  man  astonished,  'you  are  my  sister.' 

On  hearing  these  words  :  '  You  are  my  sister  !  '  Laura  thought 
the  man  was  crazy.  But  instead  of  being  frightened  she  felt  a 
great  joy.  Everything  was  explained  ncjw.  Tlie  man  who  had 
written  t'.iat  thre  ttening,  almost  <lisgraceful  letter,  was  a  poor 
wretch  dev^oid  of  reascm.  However,  she  wanted  to  know  how  far 
his  insanity  extended,  and  she  .spike  to  him  softly,  and  humoring 
his  whim. 

'  Ah  !  '  she  said,  '  1  am  your  sister.  1  did  not  know.  Now, 
Monsieur  Burel,  will  you  ex[»lain  to  me  how  it  happens  that  1  am 
your  sister.  Lnagine  tliat  my  father  and  mother  have  forgotten  to 
tell  me  that  i  had  a  brother  ! ' 

Robert  lof)ked  at  her  with  astonishment,  although  he  was  a  man 
not  to  be  sur[)ri.sed  at  lillle  things.  At  first  he  thought  Mme.  de 
Moray  was  mocking  him,  and  spoke  with  irony.  But  he  soon  dis- 
covered the  trutl*  in  noticing  a  tender  pity  in  her  eyes. 

'Ah  !  '  he  said  in  his  turn,  '  y<)U  believe  that  I  am  a  lunatic,  or 
that  I  am  drunk.  You  are  mistaken.  It  is  a  long  time  since  there 
h.as  been  enough  wine  in  this  room  to  nuike  me  tipsy,  and  I  have 
not  sull'ered  enough  yet  to  shatter  my  reason.  Believe  me,  madam, 
I  have  told  you  the  truth,  and  I  am  truly  your  brother.' 

Laura  felt,  tliat  the  unfortunate  man,  if  he  was  crazy,  sp  ike  in 
earnest,  and  believed  what  he  asserted.  But  hia  pretension  was 
so  absurd  that  she  did  not  think  it  was  necessary  to  hear  any  more. 
She  rose  to  go,  saying  : 


A   MARTYR.  67 

*  If  you  really  believe  what  you  are  saying,  sir,  it  is  not  to  me,  it 
is  not  even  to  my  mother  that  you  must  apeak.  Address  yourself  to 
Admiral  do  la  Marchf,  that  is  to  say,  your  father.     Me  will  answer 

She  thought  to  end  the  adventiiro  with  those  words.  At  least, 
she  was  contidiu'^  the  honor  of  her  mother  to  a  nuin  whose  situa- 
tion and  authority  would  promptly  deal  with  this  groundless  pre- 
tension. 

*  I  beg  your  pardon,'  said  Robert,  motioning  her  by  a  gesture  to 
sit  down  again.  *  I  see  that  you  do  not  understand  clearly,  and  in 
your  interest  as  well  as  in  the  interest  of  your  mother,  I  beg  of  you 
not  to  be  too  hasty,  I  have  told  you  that  I  was  your  brother,  but 
I  did  not  say  that  I  had  the  honor  to  be  the  son  of  the  admiral  ; 
and  p:  rhaps  you  will  think,  now  that  yon  are  better  actjuainted 
with  the  situation,  that  it  is  useless  to  tell  him  of  the  ties  which 
bind  us  to  each  other,  o\itside  of  his  knowledge.' 

Only  then  Mnie.  de  Moray  understood  the  full  moaning  of  the 
pretensions  of  the  man.  He  called  himself  the  son  of  Mme.  de  la 
JNIache,  and  not  that  of  her  husband,  a  son  conceived  in  sluime  and 
in  crime.  Her  blood  rushed  to  her  face,  and  she  felt  a  choking 
sensation  in  her  throat. 

'  Ah  ! '  she  cried,  as  soon  as  she  could  speak  ;  '  you  accuse  my 
mother,  that  is  to  say,  a  saint  :  she  whose  name  is  synominous  with 
honor  and  virtue  ;  the  worthy  companion  of  the  most  respected 
man  the  world  knows  !  It  is  a  cowardly  and  infamous  act !  You  are 
not  a  lunatic,  sir,  you  are  a  bandit  ! ' 

Robert  Burel  had  listened  to  her  insults  without  interruption. 
In  spite  of  himself,  he  admired  the  great  love,  and  the  deep  venera- 
tion of  the  daughter  defending  her  mother.  However,  he  was  not 
a  man  to  be  dominated  by  such  sentiments,  and  he  continued  : 

'  I  am  sorry  that  you  have  opened  the  letter  I  sent  to  your 
mother.  If  slie  had  come,  instead  of  you,  thi^  painful  scene  would 
i!ot  have  taken  place.  Trust  me,  give  me  back  the  letter  you  have 
intercepted.  I  shall  put  it  under  a  new  envelope,  addressed  to 
Mme.  de  la  Marche.  JShe  will  read  it  and  she  will  come,  and  you 
may  be  sure  that  she  v/ill  not  rebel  as  you  think  you  have  a  right 
to  do  in  her  name.' 

For  a  moment  Mme.  de  Moray  felt  inclined  to  follow  this  advice. 
Not  that  she  believed  that  her  mother  was  guilty,  but  because  the 
thoiiglit  that  with  one  word  the  nol)le  woman  would  justify  herself. 
Hut  she  also  thought  that  this  accusation,  although  baseless  and 
plauderouB,  would  wound  her  deeply,  and  since  she  was  engaged  in 
it,  it  WHS  better  that  she  should  go  on  to  the  end.  She  looked  at 
Burel.  The  man  was  about  thirty  years  old,  althon;:h  excesses  of 
all  kinds,  poverty  and  the  deceptions  of  life  made  him  look  much 
older.     Although  marked  with  the  stigma  of  misery  and  vice,  one 


68  A   MARTYR. 

could  easily  distinguish  the  degenerated  offspring  of  a  pure  race. 
Laura  even  thought  she  could  see  a  distant  resemblance  to  the 
handsome  face  of  her  mother.     She  was  startled. 

*  Come,'  she  said  then,  *  I  want  to  know  what  you  have  to  say. 
Tell  me  all.' 

Robert  looked  at  her  in  his  turn,  hesitating  to  engage  in  a  contest 
with  a  sister,  whom  he  did  not  know  fifteen  minutes  before,  whilst, 
if  it  had  been  Mme.  de  la  Marche,  he  would  have  had  only  to  men- 
tion his  name,  or  rather  the  name  which  was  in  his  letter,  and 
which  was  his  father's. 

*  You  wish  itr  he  asked. 
'  I  wish  it. ' 

*  Very  well.  Blame  only  yourself  if  the  secret  I  am  going  to  re- 
veal makes  you  suffer  in  your  respect  for  her  who  is  truly  my 
mother  as  she  is  yours.' 

Laura  was  startled.  In  spite  of  herself,  the  firmness  of  the  young 
man's  voice  shook  her  faith. 

'  My  story  is  very  simple,'  commenced  Robert,  'and  whatever 
prejudice  you  may  have  against  me,  you  will  very  soon  acknowledge 
that  J  deserve  your  pity  more  than  your  hatred.  1  am  truly  the 
son  of  M.  de  Corpadieu  and  of  Mme.  de  la  Marche,  and  if  you  want 
proofs,  I  shall  place  under  your  eyes  letters  from  your  mother  which 
attest  it. 

And  he  gave  her  the  letters.  In  these  Mme.  de  la  Marche  re- 
vealed with  a  heart-rending  sincerity,  the  painful  secret  of  her 
life.  The  first,  dated  July  25th,  without  any  indication  of  the  year, 
read  thus: 

'To  M.  de  Corpsdieu, — 

*  An  evil  !  a  terrible  evil  !  It  wanted  that  to  force  me  to  write, 
to  induce  mo  to  be  the  first  to  break  tlie  silence  I  had  claimed  and 
obtained  from  you.  Suppose,  invent  the  most  v;errible  punishment 
(iod  could  reserve  for  the  guilty  wife.  You  understand,  do  you 
not  ?  It  is  almost  two  years  since  my  husband  is  away,  thousands 
of  leagues  from  France,  and  in  seven  months  I  will  be  a  mother  ! 

*  I  write  to-day  because  I  do  not  know  if  I  will  have  the  strength 
to  do  so  in  a  few  days.  Still  I  must  recommend  to  your  care  the 
child  I  cannot  keep.  You  will  be  notified  by  the  doctor.  Be  in 
waiting  in  the  forest  where  we  used  to  meet  ;  you  will  receive  the 
child  and  take  him  away.' 

•  ••••.•••*•  f 

The  last  letter  was  dated  seven  months  later. 

J 2th  February. 

'  It  will  be  this  night.  I  am  already  suffering.  The  doctor  will 
take  this  letter  to  you.  Wait  at  the  place  appoint-ed.  This  letter 
will  probably  be  the  last  souvenir  you  will  have  from  me,  for  per- 
haps God  will  have  the  kindness  to  call  me  to  him  !  ' 


A   MARTYR.  69 

Wlien  sho  had  finished,  big  tears  escaped  from  Miiio.  do  Moray's 
eyes. 

*  Oh  !  my  mother  ! '  she   muttered,  'I  understand  now  the  reason 
why  your  features  always  bear  the  stamp  of  sorrow!     It  is  the  re- 
morse which  follows  you  ! ' 
However,  she  raised  her  head. 

'  It  is  true,'  she  said  in  broken  accents;  '  Mme.  de  la  Marche  has 
forgotten  her  duty,  and  a  son  was  born  to  her  from  her  guilty  love 
with  M.  de  Corpsdieu,  but  where  are  the  proofs  thai  you  are  really 
that  son.  How  am  I  to  know  that  you  have  not  stolen  this  terrible 
secret  and  that  you  make  an  infamous  use  of  it  without  being  the 
one  you  pretend  to  be  V 

'  Wait  a  minute,'  answered  the  young  man,  who  had  regained  all 
his  coolness  after  the  embarrassment  of  the  first  moment.  '  Let  me 
go  on  with  my  story.  The  child  was  brought  by  the  doctor  to  M. 
de  Corpsdieu  who  was  waiting  at  a  small  door  of  your  mother's 
park.  Before  delivering  his  light  burden,  the  doctor  hesitated  a 
little.  "  I  have  nothing  to  fear  from  you,"  he  said.  *'  The  life  of 
this  child  will  be  sacred  to  you  /  "  A  word  and  a  gesture  re-assurred 
him.  M.  de  Corpsdieu  then  started  in  the  night.  Towards  noon 
he  arrived  at  a  small  farm  which  belonged  to  him,  distant  about 
twelve  leagues.  He  had  heard,  by  chance,  that  the  farmer's  wife 
had  just  been  confined.  M.  de  Corpsdieu  pretended  to  have  found 
the  child  on  the  highway.  He  made  his  declaration  to  the  mayor 
of  the  commune,  and  gave  the  child  the  name  of  Robert.  Here  is 
a  legal  copy  of  this  declaration.  See,  father  and  mother  unknown. 
The  name  of  Burel  belongs  to  ray  adopted  parents.  1  have  always 
borne  it  without  having  any  right  to  it. 

*  A  few  weeks  after  M.  de  la  Marche  arrived  in  France,  and  found 
his  wife  in  such  a  poor  state  of  health,  bodily  and  mentally,  that  he 
made  her  quit,  in  less  than  an  hour,  the  wild  country  she  had  lived 
in  during  the  past  three  years.  M.  de  Corpsdieu,  also  very  un- 
happy, tried  to  forget,  and  for  that  purpose  he  commenced  to  travel. 
When  I  was  old  enough  he  took  me  with  him,  and  to-day  there  are 
very  few  countries  in  the  world  I  have  not  visited.  However,  the 
health  of  M.  de  Corpsdieu  was  greatly  impaired  by  the  fatigues  he 
had  undergone,  and  one  day,  conscious  of  his  approaching  end,  he 
thought  he  would  tell  me  of  the  ties  which  united  us.  In  truth, 
this  revelation  did  not  astonish  me,  for  1  expected  it  every  day. 

'  Still,  in  telling  me  the  history  of  his  life,  M.  de  Corpsdieu  had 
made  a  reserve  :  he  had  obstinately  refused  to  divulge  the  name  of 
my  mother.  As  I  was  pressing  him  to  let  me  know  it,  more  out  of 
curiosity  than  out  of  love  for  the  woman  who  had  given  me  birth 
in  adultery,  and  who,  after  all,  had  placed  a  little  late  the  duties 
of  a  wife  above  the  duties  of  a  mother,  M.  de  Corpsdieu  answered  : 
"Do  not  insist  any  more,  Robert,  I  shall  not  tell  you  that  name. 


( (( 


70  A   MARTYR. 

The  secret  of  the  woman  who  has  loved  me,  even  if  it  was  only 
one  hour,  innst  die  with  me  ! " 

'And  still,'  said  Mine,  de  Moray,  with  bitterness,  '  yon  know 
that  name,  and  to-day  you  want  to  make  it  an  instrument  of  threats 
and  of ' 

She  hesitated.      Robert  laughed, 

*  Why  do  you  stop  ?'  ho  asked.  '  An  instrument  of  blackmail. 
Very  well  ;  1  will  not  dispute  about  words.  But  before  y<»u  i^ive 
way  to  surprise  and  accuse  me  let  me  finish.' 

'  Sliortly  after  this  conversation  M.  de  Corpsdieu  died,  leavini^  n)e 
all  his  fortune  by  his  will.  To  the  will  was  annexed  a  letter  in 
which  my  fatlier  accused  himself  of  having  allowed  my  |.a^aiona  to 
take  too  much  empire  over  me,  aud  lastly,  he  expressed  the  fear, 
that  in  case  of  rum  and  reverses,  I  would  not  have  enous|h  strength 
to  fight  against  adverse  fortune. 

*  "  On  the  day  you  find  yourself  ruined,"  he  said,  at  the  end  of  his 
letter,  "  go  and  see  the  notary  who  has  given  you  this  letter,  and  if 
he  thinks  your  ])osition  sufficiently  desperate,  he  will  hand  you  a 
little  box.  In  tliis  box  you  will  find  the  name  of  your  mother,  and 
convincing  proofs  that  you  are  truly  her  son.  Perhaps  she  will  be 
able  to  help  you,  in  her  turn,  iu  your  hour  of  distress.  It  is  a 
liberty  which  I  have  not  the  paitiful  cour.aga  to  spare  her  at  the 
moment  death  is  on  me,  and  when  I  fear  for  you  the  dangers  of 
wealth  too  easily  acquired." 

'You  see;'  qni«ily  said  Robert,  addressing  Mme.  de  Moray, 
'  that  I  make  an  open  confession,  as  I  had  intended  making  it  to 
Mme.  de  la  Marche,  without  disguising  what  I  am  or  what  I  am 
not,  worth.  One  thing  is  certain,  the  predictions  of  my  father  were 
realized  to  the  letter.  I  sqiiandered  a  part  of  my  fortune,  I  managed 
the  remainder  very  badly,  and  I  tried  to  recoup  myself  at  the 
gaming  table  until,  about  six  months  a-^o,  I  found  myself  totally 
ruined.  Since  that  time,  I  tried  everything,  and  succeeded  in 
nothing.  In  despair,  I  intended  to  shoot  myself  with  this  pistol, 
which  is  the  last  remnant  of  my  j)a3t  splendor,  and  which  I  would 
not  have  sold  for  my  last  piece  of  bread,  when  I  remembered  the 
letti r  anmxed  to  the  will  of  my  father.  "  But  I  am  forgetting 
that  I  have  a  mother  !  "  I  cried,  and  I  went  to  the  notary's.  Faith- 
ful to  the  missitm  he  had  received  from  my  father,  he  gave  me  the 
box  which  M.  de  Corpsdieu  nad  entrusted  to  his  care,  and  which 
he  supposed  contained  a  reserve  of  money  prudently  put  aside. 
In  the  box  I  found  the  letters  of  your  mother,  of  my  mother  I  can 
say  now,  which  I  have  just  shown  you.  They  are  signed  only  with 
(me  initial  letter,  but  the  note  annexed  to  them  bears  the  following 
words  : 

'"The   letters  herewith  annexed  have   been  written  by  Muie. 
Firmin  de  la  Marche.     The  child  therein  mentioned,  born  from  her, 


A   MARTYR.  7l 

and  belonging  to  me,  bears  the  name  of  Robert  Burel.  At  the 
moment  I  am  wiitini^  these  lines,  knowinc^  that  I  am  near  my  end, 
I  swear  on  my  eternal  salvation  tliey  contain  the  wliole  truth,  and 
that  Robert  Burel  is  truly  my  son,  and  the  son  of  Mine,  de  la 
Marche.     Signed,  Baron  pe  CoursDiEr." 

'  I  must  confess  that  I  was  amazjd  on  reading  this  declaration. 
I  did  not  know  Mme,  de  la  Marche  any  more  tha;i  I  ktiow  hor  to- 
day. I  have  never  seen  her.  But  she  has  such  a  high  reputation 
for  ht>nor  and  virtue  that  I  had  to  read  the  ii(hrmat,ions  of  my 
father  several  times  before  I  could  believe  theuj.  Now  that  the 
secret  of  my  birth  was  known  to  me,  I  was  almost  as  much  embar- 
r<iS3ed  as  before.  Whit  was  the  use  of  my  nioth''r'.s  name  to  me 
since  she  was  n<.t  free  and  could  not  come  to  my  helj)  efficaciously  ?' 
'  You  never  had  a  mother,  and  now  that  you  disc(jvered  one,  you 
did  not  feel  your  heart  inundated  with  joy  ?'  cried  Laura.  'In 
your  place  I  would  have  seen  my  motht-r  within  an  hour.  I  3h<iuld 
have  placed  myself  mysteriously  in  her  passage,  and  1  would  have 
elevated  n)y  heart  towards  God  with  feelings  of  thanks  and  grati- 
tude !  ' 

Robert  Burel  looked  at  her  with  an  air  of  deep  stupefaction. 
Evidently  he  had  not  understood  at  first.  But  he  soon  recovered 
his  composure. 

*  Ah  !  yes,'  he  said.  *I  see  what  you  mean  ;  elevated  sentiment, 
is  it  not  ?  My  mother  !  I  have  a  mother  !  S  ived  !  I  am  saved  I 
Well,  no,  I  Confess  it,  I  did  not  think  of  that  at  all  when  I  learui 
my  mother's  name  !  And,  if  we  are  so  ditfi-rcnt  from  each  other 
with  regard  to  filial  love,  it  is  because  both  of  us  have,  in  the  same 
jifcrdon,  you,  an  angelic  mother,  worthy  of  all  your  tenderness,  and 
I,  a  guilty  mother,  unnatural,  and  who  deserves,  if  not  hatred,  at 
least  indifierence  on  my  part.' 

'  Then  a  mother  might  not  be  loved,'  cried  Laura,  with  an  accent 
of  rev(rlt. 

'  Would  you  love  your  mother,'  cried  Robert,  brutally,  'if  you 
had  never  known  her,  and  if  she  had  abandoned  you  completely  ? 
For  it  is  true  !  I  have  been  aWandi^ned  by  her.  I  nui;ht  have  been 
thrown  into  some  ori>han  asylum,  condemned  to  misery,  to  sufier- 
ing,  and  slie  would  have  known  nothing  of  it.  The  pauper  to 
whom  she  gives  alms  in  the  street  might  have  been  mo,  and  sho 
might  have  refused  me  help,  not  knowing  who  I  was.' 

'  You  complain  because  she  has  abandoned  you,'  cried  Laura. 
'  But  just  think  of  thi.",  she  was  married  !   What  could  she  do  ?  ' 

'  She  should  not  have  brought  me  into  the  world.'  coolly  answer- 
ed Robert,  'and  when  she  had  done  so,  she  should  have  hud  tht; 
courage  to  sutler  the  Cfinsequences  of  her  fault,  insteail  of  throwing 
her  responsibility  on  the  innocent.  But  wliy  this  discussion  be- 
tween us  ?  You  will  not  persuade  me  any  more  than  1  shall  convince 


72  A   MARTYR. 

you.     Each  of  us  is  in  his  role,  and  wo  are  both  ri(,'ht,  acjording  to 
the  standpoint  in  which  we  are  respectively  placed.' 

*  Very  well,'  said  Laura,  '  but  you  have  an  objective  view  in 
demanding  an  interview  from  Mme.  de  la  Marche.  Let  me  know 
what  you  expect  from  her,  and  if  it  be  possible,  I  will  try  and  sat- 
isfy you.' 

*  Whether  it  be  possible  or  not,'  coolly  answered  Robert,  '  it  will 
have  to  bo  done.  So  I  will  let  you  know  what  I  would  have  said 
to  Mme.  de  la  Marche.  I  have  imprudently  wasted  my  life  ;  I  have 
no  resources  ,  I  am  deserted  by  all  those  whom  I  have  obliged,  or 
who  have  simply  been  my  companions  of  pleasure  ;  I  have  only  one 
ambition,  one  dream,  to  leave  this  country,  where  I  hate  every 
thing  and  every  person,  and  go  into  a  new  world  to  start  life  anew. 
But  I  will  Mot  make  such  an  attempt  exhausted  and  vanquished  on 
the  start  for  want  of  resources.  I  will  not  wear  out  the  few  years 
of  manhood  and  the  spark  of  energy  still  left  in  me,  in  conquering 
degree  by  degree  the  elements  of  the  fortune  for  which  I  am  going 
to  fight.  I  want  arms  and  ammunition  before  I  engage  in  the 
struj/gle  for  life.' 

*I  understand,  said  Mme.  de  Moray,  who  saw  with  joy  a  means 
of  avoiding  the  living  peril  threatening  the  honor  of  her  mother. 
'  You  want  money  ? ' 

There  was,  howeve.*,  an  involuntary  accent  of  contempt  in  her 
exclamation.     Robert  Burel  noticed  it,  and  smiled. 

'  Money  !  '  he  said,  '  yes,  money  !  Did  not  your  mother  give  you 
money  when  you  were  married  ?  And  still  how  many  things  did  you 
get  which  I  had  not :  consideration,  a  family,  the  love  of  all  those 
surrounding  you.  To  all  this  your  mother  has  added  the  benefit  of 
a  dowry.  By  what  right  would  she  refuse  one  to  me,  who  has  re- 
ceived nothing  of  all  this  of  which  you  are  so  largely  possessed  ? ' 

'  Further  discussion  is  useless,'  said  Laura,  with  pride.  *  We  are 
making  a  bargain  now.     What  are  your  exigencies  ] ' 

Robert  hesitated  a  little. 

'  What  dowry  did  you  receive  when  you  were  married  ? '  he 
asked. 

'  I  could  not  say  exactly  ;  eight  hundred  thousand  francs,  I  be- 
lieve. ' 

'Well,'  said  the  young  man,  slowly,  and  weighing  his  words, 
'my  exigencies,  to  borrow  your  own  term,  will  not  be  extravagant. 
Let  your  mother  give  me  the  eighth  part  only  of  what  she  has 
given  you,  and  I  will  never  trouble  her  again.' 

Tins  figure  startled  Mme.  de  Moray. 

*  One  hundred  thousand  francs  ! '  she  cried.  '  Where  do  you  sup- 
pose I  could  get  that  sum  ? ' 

'  I  do  not  ask  it  from  you,  but  from  your  mother.' 
'  Do    you   think  that  she  could  dispose  of    such  a    large    sum 
any  more  than  I  can,  even  if  I  told  her  of  your  demand  i ' 


A   MARTYR.  73 

*  This  is  not  a  demand,  it  is  a  bargain.  My  departure  and  my 
silence  depend  on  that  sum.' 

*  But  once  more  what  you  ask  is  impossible.  Women,  as  you 
are  well  aware,  do  not  dispose  of  their  fortune. ' 

*  It  is  the  duty  of  Mme.  de  la  Marche  to  do  impossiblities.  In 
giving  me  birth  she  has  contracted  a  debt  towards  me,  and  if  she 
attempts  to  forfeit  it,  I  will  reveal  it  to  the  whole  world.' 

*  You  would  not  do  that  !  '  cried  Mme.  de  Moray,  *  you  would 
not  betray  your  mother's  secret  !  ' 

*  Upon  my  life,  I  swear  that  I  would  do  it,'  answered  Robert,  with 
quiet  firmness. 

The  unhappy  young  woman  felt  as  if  strangled  by  a  will  and 
force  that  nothing  could  conquer. 

*  I  would  willingly  give  you  millions  if  I  could  ! '  she  muttered. 
*  I  will  try  to  find  the  sum  you  are  asking.     I  will — I  will ' 

'  You,  or  your  mother  ;  it  is  immaterial.' 

'  Oh  !  it  will  be  I,'  said  Laura,  trembling.  '  Can  you  suppose  I 
would  have  the  courage  to  reveal  to  my  mother  that  I  possess  her 
secret.  Once  more,  it  will  be  I.  I  will  look,  I  will  try  ;  I  have 
jewels  ;  I  will  sell  them,  I  will  pawn  them.' 

*  There  is  another  means.  If  you  do  not  want  to  speak  of  this 
to  your  mother,  tell  your  husband.  M.  de  Moray  is  very  wealthy, 
I  am  told.     He  will  give  you  the  money. ' 

Laura  rebelled  at  the  proposition. 

'  Tell  my  husband,'  she  cried.  '  What  kind  of  a  conscience  have 
you  to  admit  that  even  to  my  husband,  chiefly  to  my  husband,  I 
would  reveal  this  secret.  I  would  rather  die  than  cause  him  to  lose 
the  respect  he  bears  to  the  old  age  of  my  beloved  mother.  Yes, 
die  !  a  hundred  times  ! ' 

'  As  you  will,'  said  Robert,  with  carelessness.  '  Take  whatever 
means  you  see  fit,  provided  you  succeed.  When  will  you  give  me 
this  money  ?     I  give  you  forty -eight  hours.' 

'  But  it  is  impossible  !  ' 

*  It  is  your  business  to  make  it  possible.  The  day  after  to-mor- 
row, at  the  same  time,  I  shall  await  you  here.' 

*  Here  ! '  protested  Laura.  *  No,  not  here.  I  could  not  resign  my- 
self to  re-enter  this  room,  where  I  have  learned  such  frightful 
things.' 

'  Another  place  is  the  same  to  me. .  Where  then  ? ' 
'  Well,  I  do  not  exactly  know.  Why  not  at  the  church  of  Saint- 
Gerniain-des-Pr(?3,  where  I  usually  go?  ' 

*  Very  well,  the  day  after  to-morrow,  at  the  same  hour.  It  is  un- 
derstood. ' 

'  Yes,  but ' 

'What?' 
E 


74  A   MARTYR. 

'  When  I  shall  have  given  you  the  money,  if  I  succeed  in  getting 
it,  how  can  I  tell  that  the  same  danger  will  not  exist.' 

*  If  I  gave  you  my  word,  you  would  not  believe  in  it.  I  can  only 
oflFer  one  thing.  In  exchange  for  the  bank-notes  you  will  remit  me, 
T  will  give  you  the  letters  of  your  mother  and  the  declaration  of  my 
father.  I  assure  you  that  in  making  this  bargain  I  have  not  ex- 
ceeded my  just  rights.  But  if,  after  you  havn  given  me  that  sum, 
I  attempt  to  do  the  same  thing  again.  1  would  hx^k  upon  myself  as 
a  mean  scoundrel,  and  I  swear  to  you  I  am  not  one.  Look  at  me 
full  in  the  face,  and  judge  if  you  are  to  believe  me  ? ' 

Granting  his  demand,  Laura  looked  in  his  eyes,  and  however 
painful  their  interview  had  been,  she  could  not  help  but  feel  a 
softer  emotion.  Under  the  stigma  of  excesses  of  all  kinds  could  be 
seen  a  noble  and  handsome  face.  Laura  had  already  noticed  the 
resemblance  between  Robert  and  her  mother.  She  was  still  more 
struck  by  it  in  this  solemn  moment.  Whf>  knows  what  the  man 
would  '  ve  become  if  he  had  not  been  condemned  by  his  birth  to 
a  life  ot  adventures.  There  were  certainly  strong  extenuating  cir- 
cumstances in  his  favor. 

'  Yes,'  she  said,  '  I  believe  you,  and  I  will  attempt  the  impos- 
sible to  help  you  to  start  life  anew  ;  and  I  sincerely  wish  that  you 
will  find  happiness.' 

Her  voice  trembled  in  saying  these  last  words.  Robert  noticed 
it. 

*  Here  ! '  he  said  in  a  more  anxious  tone,  *  I  am  really  very  glad 
that  you  have  seen  my  letter  and  that  you  have  come.  It  seems  to 
me  that  I  call  you  sister  more  willingly  than  I  would  have  said 
mother.' 

He  extended  her  his  hand.     Laura  took  it  without  hesitation. 

'  The  day  after  to-morrow,  four  o'clock,  at  St.  Germain-des- 
Prds,'  she  said. 

*The  day  after  to-morrow.' 

Laura  went  away  much  troubled,  so  much  so  that  she  was  nearly 
run  over  by  a  carriage.  In  leas  than  five  minutes  after,  she  was  in 
her  room.  She  forbade  entrance  to  everybody  and  recalled  to  her 
mind  the  events  of  the  pait  few  months.  Certainly  she  had  known, 
in  less  than  a  year,  many  sorrows.  Her  heart  had  been  struck  in 
its  tendorest  place  as  a  mother  and  as  a  wife.  She  had  nearly  lost  at 
one  blow,  the  two  beings  to  whom  she  had  consecrated  her  whole 
life,  her  daughter,  her  belov-td  Paulette,  and  Roger,  her  husband. 
And  when  she  had  endured  these  cruel  trials,  fhe  thought  they  were 
the  extreme  limit  of  suffering,  but  the  unexpected  wound  alie  had 
received  that  day  was  more  horrible  than  all  the  others.  Her 
mother,  her  venerated  mother,  had  been  sacrificed  oti  the  altar  she 
had  erected  to  her  in  her  he.irt  !  Be  it  said  to  her  praise,  so  L;re;it  was 
the  affection  she  felt  towards  that  mother,  even  guilty,  that  it  did 


A  MARTYR.  T.*) 

not  shake  either  her  love  or  her  respect.  She  pitied  her,  that's  all. 
Tr()uV)le(l  as  she  was,  she  could  not  appear  before  her  family  with- 
out l»etrayiiig  herself,  so  she  excused  herself  and  did  not  come 
dtnvii  to  dinner,  and  she  soon  felt  so  ill  th.it  she  went  to  bed,  iisk- 
ing  not  to  be  disturbed  in  her  sleep.  The  reader  can  easily  guess 
the  nature  of  such  a  slumber  ;  a  vigil,  torpid  and  full  of  threaten- 
ing dreams  ! 

The  next  day  she  got  up  very  early,  however.  She  had  a  strug- 
gle to  engage  in,  a  territ)le  struggle,  to  tiud  one  hundred  thousand 
francs  in  forty-eight  hours  ;  and  nearly  twonfy  had  already  gone 
by.  She  went  out  and  took  a  carriage  which  brought  her  to  one  of 
tlie  greatest  jewellers  of  Paris,  M.  Smith.  All  her  jewels  had  been 
bought  in  his  stores,  her  wedditig  ornaments,  and  the  presents 
made  by  her  husband  on  different  occasions.  M.  Smith  had  also 
reset  some  expensive  family  diamonds  given  to  her  by  her  mother. 
By  a  happy  chance,  althoiigh  it  was  hardly  ten  o'clock,  M.  Smith 
had  arrived.  Mme.  de  Moray  asked  to  speak  to  him  in  private, 
a.id  she  followed  him  into  his  ofhce.  Ttiere  she  made  him  ac- 
quainted, with  much  embarrassment,  with  the  object  <  f  her  visit. 
For  some  reason  she  would  not  give,  she  wanted  a  considerable  sum 
of  money,  unknown  to  her  hus^  and.  She  must  have  one  buutlrtd 
thousand  francs,  this  very  day.  She  had  brought  him  in  payment 
her  Hnest  jewels.  Would  he  be  kind  enough  to  replace  the  real 
stones  by  imitations,  so  that  the  substitution  could  not  not  be  sus- 
pected 1  Very  much  astonished  at  this  demand,  M.  Smith  answered 
that  the  jewels  rei>resented  certainly  a  greater  value  than  the  sum 
she  wanted.  But  he  was  not  in  a  position  to  give  it  at  such  a  short 
notice.  He  had  just  bought  for  cash  a  large  amount  of  goods, 
and  he  did  not  like  to  borrow.  He  would  bo  able  to  accommodate 
her  in  four  or  five  days.  However,  if  Mme.  de  Moray  found  her- 
self in  a  very  pressing  need  of  money,  he  might .  Laura  did  not 

dare  to  insist. 

'  No,'  she  said,  '  in  four  days.  Only  will  you  bo  kind  enough  to 
give  me  a  word  stating  that  the  sum  will  bo  at  my  disposal  at  that 
date.     It  will  be  sufhcient,  I  think.' 

The  jeweller  gave  her  what  she  asked,  and,  more  reassured,  she 
entered  the  housi  in  time  for  breakfast.  It  seemed  to  the  poor 
woman  as  if  God  was  seconding  her  etforts  to  save  her  mother.  On 
that  day  and  during  the  beginning  of  the  next  she  f<.'lt  relatively 
better,  and  her  parents,  her  husband,  the  Duchess  de  San  Lucca 
and  Annibal  Palmeri,  who  were  now  living  in  close  intimacy  were 
very  j^lad  to  see  that  her  indisposition  had  not  been  serious.  In 
the  afternoon  she  went  out  to  make  her  usual  visits  ;  as  the  count 
was  asking  her  why  she  did  not  drive,  she  said  she  wanted  to  walk, 
and  she  started  on  foot.  At  four  o'chick  she  entered  the  church. 
In  the  darkness  of  the  nave,  she  at  first  could  see  nothing.     But 


76  A    MARTYR. 

very  soon  her  eyes  became  used  to  the  dim  light  provided  by  a  few 
candles,  and  she  noticed  a  man  leaning  against  a  pillar  near  the 
entrance.     She  went  up  to  him.     It  was  Robert. 

*I  was  beginning  to  think  you  were  not  coming,'  he  said  in  alow 
tone,  'and  I  was  preparing  to  go  to  your  mansion.' 

'  You  would  not  have  done  that,'  she  answered,  trembling  at  the 
thought. 

'  But  I  would,'  he  said  with  his  usual  carelessness,  and  speaking 
loudtT  than  the  solemnity  of  the  holy  place  allowed. 

Laura  placed  her  hand  upon  his  arm  to  remind  him  that  he  should 
lower  his  voice. 

*  Well,'  he  s:iid,  heeding  her  mute  observation,  '  you  ha^e  the 
money  ? ' 

'  No,  I  have  not,  but ' 

*  You  have  not  ! '  repeated  the  young  man,  '  and  still,  you  pro- 
mised. Ah  !  you  have  done  wrong  to  deceive  me.  But  it  will  be 
of  no  use,  1  can  a  sure  you.  What  I  have  not  done  two  diiys  ago, 
I  shall  do  to-morrow,  or  rather  this  evening.  Before  an  hour,  I 
will  have  seen  your  mother. ' 

'  1  beg  of  you,'  said  the  unhappy  woman,  '  not  to  speak  so  loud. 
I  have  not  deceived  you,  and  here  is  the  i)roof.' 

Then  taking  from  her  pocket  the  note  given  her  by  the  jeweller, 
she  proved  conclusively  the  reality  of  the  efforts  she  had  made, 

'  You  can  see,'  she  added  with  anxiety,  '  that  I  am  not  deceiving 
you.  M.  Smith  decliires  that  I  have  entrusted  him  with  a  certain 
number  of  jewels  on  which  he  will  give  me  the  sum  of  one  hundred 
thousand  francs.  Tiiat  was  yesterday  morning.  The  date  is  written 
above  the  signature.  Then  in  three  days  I  shall  have  the  money. 
In  truth  it  is  not  too  much  to  ask  from  you  !  ' 

In  the  midst  of  her  supplications,  she  was  despairing,  because  he 
was  hesitating  ;  at  List  he  made  a  sign  of  assent. 

'Very  well,'  he  said,  '  in  three  days.  But  it  is  the  very  last 
delay.  Here,  in  three  days,  at  the  same  hour.  If  you  are  not  here 
then,  I  shall  go  to  your  niother's  and  whatever  may  happen,  I  will 
give  to  whoever  is  entitled  to  them  the  letters  which  prove  her  dis- 
honor !  ' 

*  Ah  ! '  said  Laura,  *  the  ransom  you  exact  for  my  mother's  fault 
is  cruel,  and  you  know  too  well  what  means  to  employ  to  obtain  the 
payment  of  it.  But  I  am  in  your  hands,  and  there  is  no  use  in 
repeating  these  words  because  nothing  can  touch  your  heart.' 

She  went  away  rapidly,  and  Robert  in  his  turn,  left  the  church  a 
few  moments  after.  When  she  was  home,  Mme.  de  Moray  felt 
calmer.  She  had,  in  spite  of  all,  once  more  averted  the  dangers 
threatening  the  honor  of  her  mother,  and,  chiefly,  the  reet  and 
happiness  of  her  father.  In  acting  as  she  did,  it  seems  to  her  that 
she  was  paying  to  her  beloved  parents  the  debt  of  gratitude  she  had 


A   MARTYR.  77 

contrac*;ed  towards  them  since  her  birth,  and  which  was  made  of 
dovotedneas  and  love.  At  the  family  grttherinj,' on  that  evening,  her 
mind  was  calmer  and  her  heart  softer  than  it  had  been  during  the 
last  few  days.  The  serenity  of  the  whole  family  was  a  proof  of  that, 
and  Laura  gave  the  example  of  a  gaiety  which  astonished  them  all. 
As  Mine,  de  la  Marche  was  enquiring,  with  a  sad  smile,  the  only 
one  which  at  times  flitted  across  her  features,  what  made  her  so 
happy,  she  felt  that  she  must  divert  the  astonishment  wliich  her 
bearing  might  provoke. 

•  Oh  !  dear  mother  !'  she  said,  '  just  think  !  I  have  received  this 
morning,  as  you  are  aware,  a  letter  from  my  daughter,  a  letter  so 
sweet  and  tender.  In  the  same  letter  Aunt  Basilique  has  written  a 
few  words,  saying  that,  although  still  very  weak,  my  beloved  Pau- 
lette  is  progressing  towards  a  cure.  In  three  or  four  months  at  the 
most,  now,  I  am  certain,  I  "will  see  my  daughter  again.' 


in. 

A  few  intimate  friends  had  dined  on  that  evening  with  Mme.  de 
la  Marche.  Amongst  them  were  the  Duchess  de  San  Lucca  and  her 
brother.  At  eleven  o'clock,  after  tea,  everybody  retired.  The 
reader  will  remember  that  the  duchess  occupied  the  first  story  of 
the  mansion,  which  she  had  fitted  up  in  gorgeous  style.  Usually 
she  would  retire  alone  and  bid  good-night  to  her  brother  on  the 
landing.  Annibal  used  to  go  out  to  spend  the  night  in  some  gam- 
bling hell,  or  in  one  of  his  familiar  boudoirs.  On  that  evening  as 
he  was  oftering  to  shake  hands,  as  was  his  wont,  she  stopped  him. 

*  No,'  she  said,  'come  up  with  me.' 

'  But  somebody  is  waiting  for  me.' 

'  I'hey  will  wait,  that's  all.  Come  up,  I  tell  you,  I  must  speak  to 
you.' 

In  this  household  of  adventurers,  the  sister  was  the  reigning 
power.  Her  brother  submitted  and  went  up.  The  duchess  rapidly 
undressed  herself,  put  on  a  rich  dressing  gown  covered  with  lace, 
and  sent  her  maid  away,  telling  her  to  bid  M.  Palmeri,  who  was 
waiting  in  the  next  room,  to  come  in. 

'  Sit  down  there,'  said  Gorgon  abruptly  to  Peppo,  when  they  were 
alone. 

And  she  showed  him  an  arm-chair  near  the  chimney.  She  re- 
mained standing  or  walked  to  and  fro,  as  she  used  to  do  when  she 
was  much  agitated. 

'  Oh  !  oh  ! '  said  Peppo  sneering. '  '  It  appears  there  is  something 
up  this  evening.     Little  sister  is  like  a  lioness  in  her  cage.     And  a 


78  A  mar'ith. 

pretty  cage  it  is,  too,'  lio  continued  lookinj?  around  liiiu  ;  '  you  have 
nirdt!  f  his  old  den  bciuitiful.  It  is  splendid  hero,  and  one  can  wait, 
without  wciuineHS,  the  end  of  tlit;  d.iys  ho  h;i8  to  live.' 

'  You  are  niif5taken,'  abruptly  siiid  (joryoti,  stopping  in  front  of 
him.  '  Ah  heauijfid  as  it  may  bo,  it  is  nevertheless  a  cage,  and  the 
lionc'-s  will  leavn  it  to-morrow.' 

'  JCh  ! '  cried  I*ep)»o.     '  What  are  you  saying  ? ' 

*  I  am  saying  what  I  mean,'  sh(!  said  harshly,  ro-commcricing  her 
walk  which  she  had  interupted  for  a  naoment.  *  It  is  to  tell  you  of 
my  resolution,  that  I  have  asked  you  to  come  up  with  mo  this  even- 
ing. Yen,'  she  cnntiinied,  ahjuidoning  herself  to  the  enervating 
influences  she  had  been  trying  to  conceal  all  the  evening,  so  as  not 
to  make  a  show  (jf  herself.  '  I  have  enough  of  this  fight.  I  give  it 
np,  anil  1  have  resolved  to  go.' 

'  Come,  come,  you  are  getting  cruzy  !  ' 

*  I  would  become  so  if  I  continued  this  stupid  slruugle  any  longer. 
I  have  had  enough  of  it.  I  tell  yon  ,  and  I  declare  myself  vanquished. 

The  young  man  put  his  hands  to  "his  head  with  a  gesture  of  comic 
deppair. 

'  Santa  Madonna,'  he  said.  *  I'll  be  hanged  if  I  understand.  Ex- 
plain yourself.' 

'  J^isten,  since  you  want  to  know  my  reasons.  And  perhaps  it 
will  soothe  my  nerves  to  tell  them.  You  know  why  we  left  our 
house  on  de  Villiers  street,  and  why  we  came  to  live  here.' 

'  Undoubtedly,  since  I  conceived  the  idea  and  furnished  the 
means  ;  yon  were  in  despair  at  the  Capo  of  Antibes,  because  you  had 
not  siicceeded  in  getting  intimate  with  some  j.,rt.at  Parisian  family. 
To  satisfy  your  whim,  because  I  swear  to  you  that,  1  care  not  for 
these  noble  relations,  I  have  managed  our  entrance  into  this  den 
of  nobility.  On  the  day  I  revealed  lay  clever  combination,  you 
wildly  embraced  me;  is  it  not  the  same  thinjt  now  ? ' 

'  The  reason  of  the  joy  which  1  manifested  then  was  the  one  you 
advance.     But  you  must  remember  there  was  another.' 

*  Ah  !  yes,  1  remember,'  said  the  JSeapolitan,  laughing.  'You 
had  some  sort  of  a  fancy  for  the  handsome  governor-general  of  Pon- 
dichdry.' 

'  Say  that  I  was  njad  after  him.  Say  that  I  loved  him  with  paa- 
sion  the  very  minute  I  saw  him.  1  never  loved  like  that  before, 
although  I  had  received  declaiations  of  love,  in  the  streets  of 
Naples,  from  the  proudest  and  noblest,  without  feeling  my  heart 
beat  any  faster,  without  pleasure  and  without  trouble.  Say  that 
my  love  for  M.  de  Moray  has  increased  ever  since  ;  that  to-day  it 
possesses  my  whole  being  ;  tliat  it  is  the  master  of  all  my  thout;hts 
and  my  actions.  And  whatever  you  may  say,  tell  yourself  that 
you  are  as  much  beneath  the  truth  as  the  crawling  worm  is  be- 
neath the  shining  star  ! ' 


A    MARTYR.  79 

*  Per  Udcchu  !  '  criod  the  young  man  with  enthusiasm,  '  yon  aro 
(juite  a  hterary  cliaracter,  sori'.Ua  tnia,  one  can  see  that  yon  frequent 
the  theatre  on  Tuesdays.  Reminiscences  of  Victor  Hugo.  Noth- 
ing else  / ' 

'  Do  not  laugh  !  you  cad  !  do  not  joke  !  You  see  very  well  that 
I  am  not  playing  a  comedy,  from  the  tone  in  which  I  speak.  I 
have  there,*  and  she  struck  her  breast,  *a  true  passion.  And  ho 
that  loves  truly  is  wnrth  all  the  poets  in  the  world  !  ' 

'  1  beg  your  pardon,  Mnie.  the  duchess,  I  will  not  laugh  any 
more.  Then  ycm  want  to  go  because  you  love  M.  de  Moray  ; 
aiid  he  is  insensible  to  your  Hame,  the  impertinent  fellow  !  ' 

'  You  are  stupid  !  '  cried  Gorgon.  'The  passion  1  have  for  M. 
de  ]\[oray  is  reciprocated  by  him.  The  same  fever  burns  both 
of  us  ! ' 

There  was  an  accent  of  gratified  ambition  in  this  exclamation. 
The  pride  of  the  beautiful  girl,  if  not  her  love,  must  have  been 
largely  gratified  to  make  her  speak  thus. 

'  Then  I  understand  less  and  less,'  confessed  Peppo,  with  hu- 
mility. 'You  are  loved  and  you  love;  that  is  perfect  happiness. 
For,  without  prying  into  your  secrets,  my  chaste  sister  !  1  do  not 
suppose  you  love  in  a  platonic  way  / ' 

'I,  no  ! '  boldly  answered  (iorgon.     *  But  he  !  ' 

*  You  don't  say  so  ? ' 

'  It  is  even  so,  1  assure  you.  And  if  you  do  not  believe  me,  it 
is  because  you  do  not  know  as  well  as  I  do  the  idiots  we  call 
honest  people.  You  do  not  know,  either,  the  imperious  sentiment 
which  tlioy  call  honor  !  ' 

'  But  I  beg  your  pardon,'  answered  the  adventurer,  simply.  *  I 
have  heard  a  good  deal  about  it.' 

Gorgon  shrugged  her  shoulders. 

'  Whether  you  know  this  splendid  sentiment  or  not,  one  thing  is 
certain,  these  people  are  the  heroes  and  victims  of  it.  M.  de  Moray 
loves  me.  He  confessed  his  love  to  me  on  the  first  day  we  met,  in 
a  moment  of  surprise  and  abandonment.  But  since  that  day  he 
has  sealed  his  lips,  and  he  would  be  smcithered  sooner  than  open 
them  if  a  word  of  love  was  to  fall  from  his  heart.' 

'  Hum  !  such  a  virtue  is  too  beautiful  to  be  sincere.  I  would  be 
tempted  to  believe  that  he  does  not  love  you  any  more.' 

*  To  convince  me  of  that  he  must  conceal  the  trouble  in  his  eyes 
whun  he  looks  at  me,  the  emotion  in  his  voice  when  he  speaks  to 
mc,  the  trembling  of  liis  nerves  when  he  is  obliged  to  touch  my 
hand  when  we  meet  or  when  we  leave  each  other.  Oh  !  I  assure 
you,  he  loves  me  ;  or,  if  you  prefer  another  word,  he  finds  me 
beautiful  and  he  desires  me.  But  duty,  but  the  respect  he  has  for 
that  woman  whom  I  hate,  because  she  is  his  wife  and  has  a  right  to 
love  and  be  loved,  lastly,  this  absurd  honor,  which  1  told  you  about, 


80  A   MARTYR. 

all  these  thinf^a  combined,  build  a  wall  between  us  which  I  am  not 
powerful  enough  to  demolish.  This  niwht  I  have  played  my  last  card, 
and  I  have  lost.  Whilst  you  were  all  conversing  together,  I  said  a 
few  words  to  Roger  privately  ;  I  have  thrown  my  love  to  him  in  a 
cry  of  distresp.  He  was  stanu.ng  before  me,  burnt  himself  by  a 
flame  wliich  I  guessed,  which  I  saw,  and  which  I  felt  in  some  sort. 
His  eyes  fell  on  mine,  and  they  seemed  to  ask  for  mercy.  He  said 
nothing,  however.  "  But  why  do  not  you  answer  at  least  one  word  ?  '' 
I  cried,  tormented  by  his  silence.  For  one  moment  I  thought  I  had 
subdued  his  brutish  obstinacy  ;  hia  lips  opened  but  closed  again, 
locked  by  his  inflexible  will.' 

'  And  then?'  asked  Peppo,  carried  away  by  the  violence  of  his 
sister. 

'  Then,  he  bowed  deeply,  respectfully,  and  walked  away.  And 
while  I  was  trying  to  i^et  over  my  emotion,  I  heard  him,  who  had 
joined  his  wife  and  Mme.  de  la  Marche,  rejoice  with  them  at  the 
good  news  they  had  received  that  very  day  from  Pondichery.  His 
voice  was  still  trembling,  and  I  am  sure  that  his  emotion  has  been 
caused  by  my  words.  But  these  abhorred  women  could  not  under- 
stand that,  and  thev  unduubtedly  imagined  that  his  emotion 
aro.se  from  paternal  love.  Happily  that  odious  evening  was  nearing 
its  end.  We  retired,  and  1  have  been  able  to  tell  you  of  my  anger 
and  of  my  powerlessness.' 

Having  uttered  these  words,  Gorgon  fell  exhausted  into  an  arm- 
chair lieside  her  brother.  In  truth,  she  was  to  be  pitied.  The  pas- 
sion she  felt  was  culpable,  even  criminal.  But  it  was  sincere,  and 
on  that  account  Gorgon  deserved  some  pity.  Annibal,  who  until 
then  had  answered  in  a  chaffing  tone,  was  dominated  by  the  invin- 
cible force  of  true  sentiment. 

'  Poor  little  sister  ! '  he  said,  taking  the  hand  of  his  accomplice, 
'  I  assure  you  that  I  am  very  sorry.  Come,  do  you  want  me  to  help 
you  ] ' 

*And  what  can  you  do? '  she  asked  disconsolately. 

*  If  r  made  you  marry  the  man  you  love,'  asked  Palmeri,  'what 
would  _you  say?  ' 

The  beautiful  girl  looked  at  her  brother  with  a  ferocity  which 
would  have  made  any  other  tremble. 

'  Ah  ! '  she  said,  *  you  are  joking  yet.  Have  a  care,  Peppo  ;  it  is 
a  dangerous  game,  which  I  do  not  advise  you  to  play.' 

'  Look  at  me,'  said  the  Neapolitan  quietly.  'Do  I  look  like  a 
man  who  is  joking  ?     Ungrateful  girl  that  you  are  ! ' 

In  spite  of  all  there  was  an  accent  of  brotherly  friendship  in  this 
reproach.   Gorgon  understood  it  and  excused  herself. 

'  Pardo  me,'  she  said.  *  But  I  am  truly  so  unhappy  !  And  what 
^  w  tell  me  is  so  impossible  ! ' 

'  Why,  impossible  ? ' 


A   MARTYR.  81 

'  Because  he  is  already  married.' 

*  What  odds  ?     His  wife  may  disappear.' 

'  Kill  her  !  You  would  do  that !  In  it  indeed  true  that  you  would 
do  that  ft)r  me  ? ' 

Certainly  at  that  moment,  Gorgon  would  have  put  without  re- 
mor-se  a  dagger  into  her  brother's  hand.  But  the  serene  tranquil- 
lity of  Peppo  appeased  her  suddenly. 

'  Ah  ! '  she  said  with  bitterness,  '  we  are  mad.  Neitlier  you  nor 
I,  whatever  little  scruples  we  may  have,  would  think  of  doing  such 
a  thing.' 

'But  I  don't  think  'f  that,'  quickly  answered  Annibal.  *  Diavolo! 
Kill  people  !  No  !  No  !  We  could  not  do  that,  eapecia'ly  when  there 
are  other  means  at  hand  to  gain  the  end  in  view.' 

(jiorgon  saw  that  her  brother  had  a  well  defined  project.  And, 
however  absurd  it  might  be  in  its  impossibility,  she  wanted  to 
know  it. 

'  Come  !  Speak  !  '  she  said.     'What  is  your  plan?  * 

*  The  only  practical  one — a  divorce  ! ' 
'  A  divorce  i' 

'Yes  !  You  know  that  we  are  not  in  Italy  here  ;  we  inliabit  a 
country  where  divorce  flourishes.  Indeed,  it  is  said  that  one-half 
of  France  is  in  the  act  of  obtaining  a  divorce  from  the  other  half,' 
he  added,  laughing. 

'  T'  i  divorce  !  that's  true  !'  answered  Gorgon.  'That's  one 
way. 

But  after  thinking. 

'  That  is  even  more  absurd  than  anything  we  have  thought  of  jis 
yet,'  she  said.  'For  a  divorce,  two  tilings  are  wanted.  A*^  Hrst  a 
determined  cause,  and  then  the  consent  of  him  who  could  i'l./ko 
such  a  cause  before  the  justice.  And  unhappily  nothing  of  the  kind 
exists  in  our  case.  The  Countess  de  Moray,  that  woman  whom  I 
detest  so  deeply,  is  ab(jve  all  reproach.  I  am  forced  to  acknowledge 
that !  And  her  husband  has  no  other  cause  of  hatred  against  her 
than  the  love  he  feels  for  me,  if  hn  should  consent  to  listen  to  the 
voice  of  his  own  love.  It  is  a  dream,  1  tell  you.  A  dream  which 
cannot  be  realized  !  ' 

'  Well,  if  I  could  give  you  proof  to  the  contrary,  what  would  you 
give  me  ] ' 

'Oh!  heavens!  Anything  you  may  wish  I  The  fortune  of  a 
Rotschild,  if  you  could  steal  it  like  the  other  I ' 

'  Per  Baccho  !  not  so  loud  ! '  said  Paliueri,  looking  around  him 
with  fright.  '  One  can  never  tell  but  there  is  some  eaves- 
dropper !  ' 

He  opened  all  the  doors,  and  made  sure  that  nobody  had  heard 
the  imprudent  remark  of  his  sister. 

'  Nobody,'  he  said,  returning.    *  We  are  lucky.    But  I  pray  you, 


82  A   MARTYR. 

my  dear,  no  more  of  these  imprudences  !     You  make  me  tremMe  ! 

The  fortune  of   a    Rotschild,  y()U  say  ]     No,  little  sister,  mine  is 

sufficient,     lint  perhr.ps  some  day  I  will  ask  yon,  if  I  succeed  in 

this  undertaking ' 

'  What  i    Fix  your  price.     It  is  accepted  in  advance  I  ' 

'  I  cannot  tell  you  now.     I  do  not  know  myself.     But  whatever 

it  may  be,  you  swear? ' 

*  1  swear  !  '  she  said  '  <m  (iorgon'd  faith  !  Now  tell  me  the  mad 
hope  you  have  in  the  possibility  of  a  divorce.' 

*  Well,  my  dear,  nothing  is  simpler,'  commenced  the  Neapolitan. 
'  Mme.  de  Moray,  that  wc^man  whose  virtue  you  acknowledge  with 
such  disinter,  stedness,  Mme.  de  Moray  has  a  lover.' 

'  A  lover  ! ' 

'  As  1  am  telling  you.' 

'  You  are  mad  !     Unhappily  she  is  the  purest,  the  most  innocent, 
and  the  most  irreproachable  of  women.     Mme.  de  Moray  loves  her 
husband  and  has  no  lover,  and  1  am  sure  of  that.' 
'  And  [  affirm  the  contrary.' 

'  If  it  were  so,  however!'  muttered  Gorgon.  '  With  her  calm- 
ness, with  her  serenity,  with  her  appearance  of  crushing  virtue. 
Ah  !  if  it  were  so,  I  think  1  would  admire  that  woman,  because,  in 
truth,  it  would  be  splendid.' 

'  My  dear, '  philosophically  answered  Peppo,  *  I  have  heard  some- 
body who  know  say  that  when  honest  women  become  rogues,  tliey 
are  more  so  than  others.' 

'  Have  you  got  proofs  i '  asked  Gorgon,  anxiously. 
'  Do  you  think  1  would  speak  of  such  a  thing  if  I  did  not  have 
proofs  ? ' 

Proofs  !  Although  her  brother  had  promised  them,  the  splendid 
girl,  carried  away  by  passion,  could  not  believe  it.  Indeed,  it 
would  be  too  much  to  expect  ;  she  did  not  yet  know  what  advan- 
tat^d  she  would  derive  from  the  dipcover}'.  But  to  satisfy  her  jea- 
lousy and  her  hatrid,  the  certitude  that  the  golden  statue,  which 
crushed  her  with  her  lyii'g  chastity,  had  ftet  (»f  clay,  was  sufficient. 
And  as  Annibal  was  observing  on  her  face  the  many  impressio,  s 
caused  by  his  words,  she  urged  him. 

'  Why  don't  you  speak,'  she  said,  with  passion.  '  Don't  you  see 
I  am  boiling  ?  So  you  say  that  the  Countess  de  Moray  has  a 
lover  / ' 

*  When  I  say  she  has  a  lover,  1  do  not  exactly  mean  that.' 
Gorgon  trembled  at  this,  but  she  was  soon  reassured.     Her  bro- 
ther continued  : 

*  I  should  have  said  she  has  had  a  lover  And  the  love  story 
actually  carried  on  is  an  old  intrigue  nearing  its  end.' 

'  Explain  yourself  clearly,'  insisted  the  young  woman,  with  im- 
patience. 


A   MARTYR.  H'i 

'  You  will  understand.  It  is  as  clear  as  crystal.  Four  days  a<^o 
I  was  walking  the  street  abo\it  half-past  three,  not  knowing  exactly 
where  to  go,  when  a  woman,  who  was  walking  very  fast,  JDstled  nio 
on  her  way.  My  attention  was  arrested  for  a  few  secern  la,  and  al- 
though 1  saw  only  her  l>ack,  I  thought  I  knew  her.  I  followed  her 
and  soon  discovered  that  tliis  elegant  lady  was  jNInie.  de  Moray.' 

'   Where  was  she  going  ? ' 

'  That's  the  question  I  asked  myself  ;  and  she  nmst  have  been 
much  jireoccupied  to  have  thus  JDstled  me  without  perceiving  it. 
Where  was  sh«^  going,  and  what  was  the  cause  of  her  ineocctipation  / 
Such  was  the  double  mystery  I  resolved  to  clear.  There  was  only 
one  way  to  obtain  that  result  ;  it  was  to  foll')W  the  good  lady,  and 
I  did  so  very  cleverly,  so  as  not  to  awaken  her  suspicions,  if  by 
chance  she  would  turn  around.  In  a  very  short  time  she  turned  into 
Dragoon  street. 

*  What  is  that  street  ? '  asked  Gorgon. 

'  A  street  of  mean  appearance  which  your  excellency  has  certainly 
not  crossed  in  your  (piality  of  noble  duchess,  and  which  wcmld  not  be 
out  of  place  in  the  suburbs  wheie  we  lived  when  we  were  in  Naples. 
But  it  is  not  the  street,  it  is  the  court  ono  must  see.  This  court  is 
a  sort  of  city  where  W(»rkingnien  dwell.  Mine,  de  Moray  walked  up 
to  the  dirtiest  of  these  ugly  houses.  A  thought  cauie  to  my  mind, 
and  I  called  myself  an  idiot.  There  was  only  oi/e  cause  which  could 
bring  the  noble  countess  to  such  a  plac<'.  It  was  for  charity's  sake. 
Very  certainly  the  daughter  of  the  admiral  was  paying  a  benevolent 
visit  to  some  of  the  paupert;  who  l)esiege  her  dooi'  day  and  .light.  1 
was  moved,  upon  my  word,  aid  1  reproached  myself  for  liaving  cast 
suspicions  on  a  virtue  which  did  not  disd;iin  to  carry  her  oHeiings 
to  the  poor  in  their  own  homes.  !So,  as  a  i)nnishment,  I  resolved 
to  wait  until  she  would  come  out  again.  "  When  she  will  appear," 
I  said  to  myself,  "  1  will  go  to  her,  tell  her  that  I  have  followed  her, 
and  I  will  give  her  a  few  pounds  to  increase  the  budget  of  her 
charities."  ' 

'So,  you  aie  charitable  V  askevl  Gorgon,  ironically. 

*  Why  not  ?'  quietly  said  the  Neipolit  an. '  '  As  o[iportunity  ofTers. 
Ar.d  you  must  admit  that  the  occa8i<jn  was  tc-mpting,  since  it  would 
attract  the  good  graces  of  a  woman  who  after  all  has  not  much  love 
for  us.  So  I  waited.  I  have  told  yoii  it  v,  as  h.ilf-past  three  when 
I  commenced  my  duty  as  sentry  ;  at  six  o'elork  1  was  s'ill  on  duty.' 

'  Stupid  ft)ol  ! '  you  had  not  noticed  the  countess  coming  out,  or 
she  had  gone  by  some  other  way.' 

'  That's  just  what  I  thought  myself  ;  however  I  stayed  there 
with  patience,  and  was  rewirdod  with  success,  for  at  a  quarter  past 
six  Mme.  de  Moray  appeared.' 

'  And  what  did  you  say  to  her,  then  1  ' 


84  A   MARTYR. 

'  Nothing.  I  had  changed  my  plan.  Certainly  this  charitable 
lady  was  not  on  an  errand  to  a  pauper.  One  does  not  remain  three 
hours  in  a  hovel  for  the  purpose  o^  leaving  alms.  So  there  must  be 
something  else.  As  soon  as  I  saw  her,  I  felt  sure  that  I  was  not 
mistaken.  The  eyes  of  the  countess  were  red  and  heavy,  and  she 
evidently  had  shed  many  tears  in  the  course  of  her  long  visit.  I 
started  after  her,  saw  that  she  was  nearly  killed  by  a  carriage,  which, 
in  her  troubled  state  of  mind,  she  had  not  noticed,  and  finally  1 
saw  hur enter  this  house.' 

'  When  did  you  say  it  happened  ] '  asked  Gorgon. 

*  Four  days  ago.' 

*  But,  if  i  am  not  mistaken,  that  was  the  day  the  countess  was 
unwell,  and  did  not  come  down  to  dinner.' 

*  Exactly,  and  it  was  prudent  on  her  part  to  do  so,  because  her 
state  of  mind  would  have  excited  the  curiosity  of  all  those  honest 
people.' 

'  Why  did  you  not  tell  me  of  your  discovery  ?  ' 

*  \ou  know  that  I  like  to  tell  you  of  these  things  when  I  am  sure 
of  success.  1  have  my  self-pride,  zounds  !  You  can  easily  guess 
that  I  resolved  to  find  out  the  mystery  at  once,  and  that  I  com- 
menced to  spy  the  countess  in  earnest.  The  very  next  morning 
Mine,  de  Moray,  with  a  satchel  in  her  hand,  took  a  carriage  and 
went  to  Smith's,  the  jeweller  you  know  of  V 

'  What  1  to  buy  jewels  /     In  the  morning  ? ' 

*  It  was  rather  the  contrary,  as  you  will  see  in  a  moment.  From 
my  own  carriage,  in  which  I  was  hidden,  I  saw  her  come  out  ot  the 
store  empty  handed  ;  she  re-entered  the  carriage  and  went  back  to 
the  house.  She  looked  well  pleased  on  coming  out  of  the  store  and 
I  concluded  that  she  had  fully  succeeded  in  whatever  she  had  un- 
dertaken. But  then  I  was  somewhat  mistaken,  as  you  will  see. 
She  did  not  go  out  again  on  that  day.  The  next  day,  in  the  after- 
noon, that  is  to  say  this  very  day,  she  started  out  again  and  I  fol- 
lowed her,  like  a  silly  detective,  expecting  to  see  her  return  to  the 
Court  of  the  Dragon.  She  did  not  lead  me  there,  however,  and  as 
the  clock  struck  four,  we  were  entering,  one  following  the  other, 
about  twenty  steps  apart,  the  church  of  St  Germain-des-Pres.  Do 
you  know  St.   Germain-des-Pr(5s  ?     D  is  a  very  tine  church.' 

'  What  odds  is  that  to  me  ?  ' 

'  Or  to  me  !  But  what  is  very  interesting  on  account  of  the  ob- 
ject I  had  in  view  is  that  it  is  always  so  gloomy  in  that  fine  church 
that  one  can  see  nothing  on  first  entering  it.  Thanks  to  this  dark- 
ness 1  was  enabled  to  reach  a  pillar,  against  which  a  young  man 
was  leaning,  and  where  the  countess  joined  him,. after  a  moment's 
hesitation.' 

'  A  young  man  ?  And  this  young  man  is  her  lover  ?  And  you 
heard  what  they  said  ?  ' 


A  MARTYR.  85 

'  Without  losing  one  word,  thanks  chiefly  to  the  animation  and 
bad  humor  of  the  fellow,  who  was  not  at  all  particular,  never  dream- 
ing for  a  moment  that  some  one  quite  near  him  was  listening  to 
everything  ho  said.  I  hoard  enmigh  to  form  an  idea  of  the  <;onver- 
sation  which  must  have  taken  place  two  days  before  in  the  house  of 
the  Ct»urt  of  the  Dragoon,  This  young  man  has  in  his  possession 
love  letters  which  establish  beyond  doubt,  it  seems,  the  disho!!or  of 
the  noble  family  which  has  taken  us  by  tlie  hand,  and  as  he  apfiears 
to  be  in  rather  poor  circumstances,  he  has  conceived  the  idea  of 
making  money  out  of  that  correspondence,  and  heaak^d  the  countess 
the  pretty  sum  of  a  hundred  thousand  francs  for  her  epistles. 
Twenty-five  thousand  francs  apiece.  You  see  that  it  is  nut  for 
nothing.' 

'  One  hundred  thousand  francs  !  And  Mme.  de  Moray  has  given 
them  ] ' 

'  No,  Only,  as  she  had  promised  to  give  them,  this  handsome 
young  man,  for  I  am  forced  to  say  that  he  looks  very  well,  in  spite 
of  the  misery  he  must  have  endured,  this  handsome  young  man,  I 
say,  became  very  angry,  and  uttered,  in  a  low  voice,  I  know  not 
what  terrible  threats,  which  threw  the  lady  into  a  great  state  of 
terror. ' 

'  But  that  fellow  is  a  scoundrel ! '  said  Gorgon,  in  spite  of  her- 
self. 

'  Certainly,  but  a  scoundrel  to  whom  you  will  owe  some  grati- 
tude. So,  he  was  swearing  and  making  a  scene  in  the  church,  and 
1  don't  know  how  it  would  have  ended,  if  the  countess  had  not  suc- 
ceeded in  calming  him  V'y  showing  him  a  declaration  of  Smith,  the 
jeweller,  attesting  that  Mme.  de  Moray  had  placed  jewels  in  his 
possession,  which  were  to  be  sold,  and  on  which  he  would  give  her 
at  a  certain  date,  which  is  the  day  after  to-morrow,  a  sum  of  one 
hundred  thousand  francs.  In  consequence,  the  countess  was  ask- 
ing for  a  delay  of  forty-eight  hours,  promising  to  return  to  the  same 
place  to  give  him  the  money.  After  much  trouble,  she  gained  that 
point  and  went  away.' 

*  How  she  must  hate  that  man  now,  after  having  loved  him  so 
much  ! '  thouglit  Gorgon  aloud. 

'  Well,  1  think  you  are  mistaken,  Certainly,  Mme.  de  Moray 
has  nothing  to  thank  her  lover  for,  and  still  I  have  noticed  in  her 
voice,  as  if  in  spite  of  herself,  intonatiijus  of  .sympathy,  almost  of 
tenderness,' 

'  It  is  strange,'  said  the  beautiful  girl  pensively.  'But  we  women 
are  so  singular  in  our  fancies,  that,  after  all,  it  might  be  possible.' 

'  Well,  little  sister,'  asked  Amnibal  on  rising  to  retire,  '  what  do 
you  think  of  my  story  ? ' 

*  I  think, '  said  Gorgon,  starting  up,  *  I  think  that  if  it  is  a  true 
story,  before  three  months  are  over,  I  shall  have  traded  my  crown 


86  A   MARTYR. 

of  duchess  for  the  crown  of  a  countess,  and  that  in  my  turn  I  shall 
be  Mme.  de  Moray.' 

This  conversation,  which  we  have  shortened,  lasted  a  i'ond  part 
of  the  night.  It  was  after  two  o'clock  in  the  morning  when  the  ad- 
venturer left  his  sister,  not  before  reminding  her  that  whatever  she 
might  do,  slui  had  promised  him  to  grant  the  tirst  favor  he  would 
ask  her.  Gorgon  had  tried  to  find  out  what  would  be  the  price 
claimed  by  her  brother  in  exchange  for  the  information  he  had  just 
given  her,  but  he  had  obstinately  refused  to  answer,  saying  that  the 
project  he  was  meditating  was  neither  ripe  nor  authciently  detined 
in  his  own  mind. 

Left  alone  at  last,  Gorgon  went  to  bed  and  tried  to  sleep.  But 
the  unexpected  revebition,  made  to  lier  so  abruptly,  <»cc\ipied  her 
mind  and  did  r.ot  allow  lier  to  sleep  until  morning.  This  woman, 
who  less  than  any  other  had  the  right  to  be  severe,  was  shocked  at 
the  thought  that  Mine,  de  Moray  had  failed  in  her  duty  to  her  hus- 
band. 

'  That's  what  they  are,  then,  those  great  ladies  of  the  fashionable 
world  ! '  she  thought,  '  They  lie,  they  deceive,  like  all  the  rest,  and 
still  they  have  not  the  excuse  that  a  woman  such  as  I  am  could 
advance.' 

However,  there  is  between  women,  even  when  they  <are  jealous  of 
each  other,  a  sort  of  freemasonry.  And  there  was  in  the  he.irt  of 
Gorgon,  a  native  pride  which  made  her  look  with  repulsion  at  the 
use  of  a  secret  accusation,  however  justified  it  seemed  to  her. 

'  Eh  !  what  odds  ! '  she  said  aloud,  sitting  up  on  the  bed  where 
she  was  tossing,  a  prey  to  all  the  hesitations  of  her  love  and  her  con- 
science. '  What  do  1  cire  if  it  be  good  or  bad  1  1  know  only  one 
thing,  that  I  love  even  to  dying,  and  that  everything  must  give  way 
to  my  love.  I  shall  attempt  then  to  satisfy  my  passion,  everything 
I  shall  be  able  to  do  without  injuring  that  unfortunate  wretch.  But 
if  1  fail,  and  if  I  have  no  other  means,  I  shall  ruin  her,  without  re- 
moise.  So  much  the  worse  for  her  ;  let  her  guard  and  defend  her- 
self.' 

Fatigue  at  last  put  an  end  to  this  feverish  vigil,  and  at  the  hour 
at  which  those  who  have  to  work  for  their  daily  bread  rise,  Gorgon 
went  to  sleep.  She  never  awoke  until  noon.  It  took  her  a  few 
mom(>nts  to  recall  all  the  emotions  which  had  agitated  her  through 
the  night. 

*  Oh  ! '  she  thought  all  at  once,  '  this  is  the  day  I  shall  fight  a  de- 
cisive battle.' 

Recovering  all  her  coolness,  as  a  duellist  on  the  morning  of  an 
engagement,  she  called  for  a  light  breakfast  which  she  ate  in  bed, 
after  which  she  got  up  and  proceeded  to  put-on  a  morning  dress 
which  showed  her  to  the  best  advantage.  She  then  examined  her- 
self for  a  long  time  in  a  large  mirror.     She  had  a  sense   of  pride  at 


A    MARTYR.  87 

fiudini?  herself  so  beautiful.  The  fatigues  of  the  night  just  past 
gave  to  her  eyes  a  fl  iine  still  more  intense  than  usual,  and  a  duller 
milky  paleness  to  lier  C(»mplexii)n.  She  well  deserved  her  old  name 
of  G(>r(j(in,  that  dar.ghter  (.f  the  goddes.sCeto,  whose  look  alone  kill- 
ed men,  or,  according  to  Pindar,  petrified  and  changed  then  into 
r.>cks.  8hb  was  indiid  the  dangerous  creature  whose  love  was  to 
reverse  the  laws  of  iiature,  and  wh<i,  scorned  by  ch mce,  would  put 
a  heart  of  stone  into  the  breast  of  him  who  refused  to  love  her. 
Now  that  the  moment  of  the  struggle  was  appr^ 'aching,  she  felt 
c  dm  and  resolute,  and  gave  the  order  to  go  ami  beg  of  M.  de 
Moray  to  come  and  see  her.      She  had  to  speak  to  him. 

The  count  hesitated  at  first  and  was  tempted  not  to  go.  It  would 
I'li  the  first  time  he  would  Jind  himself  aloiio  with  her  since  their 
arriv.il  in  Paris,  for  he  had  avoided  tuitil  then  all  the  occiisions  of 
a  meeting',  the  perils  of  which  he  knew  too  well.  However,  he  an- 
swered that  he  would  go  directly.  It  was  one  of  tw(»  things. 
Either  the  interview  asked  by  Mme.  de  San  Lucca  would  be  occu- 
])ied  in  speaking  of  indifJerent  subjects,  and  that  it  would  be  ridi- 
culous on  his  part  to  refuse  to  go  ;  or  else,  its  hidden  efl'ect  was  to 
attempt  a  new  effort  against  the  loyal  rig(n'  of  his  resolution,  and  in 
this  case  it  was  better  to  put  an  end  to  it  at  once.  The  cri.sis  would 
l)e  dangerous  and  the  struggle  painful,  because  he  would  have  to 
light  against  himself  as  much  as  against  a  Avoman  strangely  fascin- 
atnig.  But  he  felt  strong  enough  to  come  triumphantly  out  of  the 
ordeal  in  the  noble  stubbornness  of  his  duty.  So  he  catne.  On 
seeing  him  the  duchess  bade  him  sit  down.  They  were  alone.  For 
a  moment  they  were  .-ilent.  Both  felt  their  hearts  beating  as  if 
about  to  break.  The  adventuress  was  not  a  woman  to  risk  tht>  at- 
tack on  the  chances  of  a  common-place  conversation  ;  so  she  went  to 
the  assault  with  superb  bravery. 

'  You  must  think,'  she  said,  *  that  if  I  have  asked  you  to  come 
and  see  me,  it  is  to  put  an  end  to  a  situation  which  is  as  galling  to 
me  and  to  my  pride,  as  it  is  painful  to  your  patience.  We  cannot, 
you  and  I,  indefinitely  remain  near  each  other  like  timid  children. 
What  has  passed  between  us  has  been  a  huuiiliatlng  accident  for 
both,  and  I  do  not  wish,  any  more  than  you  do,  to  be  exi)o8"d  to  it 
a  second  time.  Our  fate  must  be  decided;  we  must  separate  for- 
ever.' 

However  resolute  he  was  to  keep  his  faith  io  his  wife,  M.  <\-:' 
M  >ray  was  startled  at  the  alternative  offered  to  him.  This  woman 
who  intoxicated  him,  who  had  become  the  very  essence  ot  the  secret 
agitation  which  enervated  all  his  faculties  in  delicioiis  suffering;  she 
was  contemplating  going  away.  He  had  not  thought  of  thai  event- 
uality. For  a  moment  it  seemed  to  him  as  if  the  earth  was  whirling 
around  him;  the  blo^d  rushed  to  his  head;  his  hands  becime  icy 
cold.  However,  he  got  over  this  momentai-y  weakness,  and  recov- 
ering his  powerful  will,  he  merely  answered  thus: 


88  A   MARTYR. 

*  Your  departure,  Madam,  which  you  announce,  will  give  me 
much  pain.  Mnie.  de  Moray  also  will  feel  much  regret  ;  and  it  is 
in  her  name,  as  well  aa  in  my  own,  that  I  give  you  the  assurance 
of  our  sorrow.' 

He  had  spoken  slowly,  ccilly,  lingering  on  purpose  on  the  words  : 
'  Mmo.  do  Moray.'  He  then  rose  to  retire.  The  duchess  shrugged 
her  slioulders  disdainfully. 

'  Wait  a  minute,'  she  said.  *  I  am  only  commencing  what  I  have 
to  tell  you.' 

The  count  sat  down  again.  In  spite  of  the  firmness  of  his  resolu- 
tion, he  was  happy  to  be  condemned  to  stay  longer.  Since  she  was 
going  away  and  he  would  see  her  no  more,  why  not  drink  deeply  of 
the  boiling  spring  of  love  !  The  diichess  was  speaking  with  an  in- 
voluntary disorder  of  language.  Evidently  she  was  sustaining  a 
severe  struggle  with  herself.  There  were  words  coming  to  her  lips 
she  did  not  wish  to  say,  at  least  not  yet. 

'  Do  not  speak  of  VIme.  de  Moray,'  she  said  ;  '  do  not  make  me 
think  of  that  woman  who  detests  me  because  she  knows  that  I  love 
yon  and  that  1  hate  her  ! ' 

'  Because  you  know  she  loves  me  ! '  stoic  illy  interrupted  the 
count. 

The  Neapolitan  almost  cried  out  :  '  You  are  lying  !  or  rather  she 
is  lying  !  she  does  not  love  you  I'  but  she  refrained.  It  was  not 
yet  time. 

'  Do  I  know  why  I  hate  her?  '  she  asked,  abruptly.  '  It  doesn't 
matter,  anyway.  What  I  want  to  know  from  you  is  the  reason  why 
you  are  so  mercilessly  silent  when  I  humiliate  myself  to  the  point 
of  begging  your  love  /  Why  will  you  not  love  me  i  Am  I  not  free  ? ' 
*  Yes,'  said  M.  de  Moray,  whose  voice  had  regained  all  its  firm- 
ness, 'you  are  free,  but  I  am  not.  And  the  avowal  you  demand 
would  be  at  the  same  time  an  otfence  to  you,  and  a  treachery 
towards  her  whose  name  you  do  not  want  pronounced  in  your 
presence  ! ' 

'  A  treachery  !  an  otfence  !'  she  cried  with  a  ringing  laugh.  '  In 
truth  you  have  a  queer  way  of  calling  things.  It  is  an  offence,  it 
is  a  treachery,  according  to  you,  to  avow  one's  love  !  Not  so  !  To 
love,  and  nothing  but  to  love  is  all  !  To  say  it  is  nothing  !  And 
besides,  if  saying  it  is  something,  what  do  you  not  tell  me,  every 
moment,  by  all  the  voices  of  your  being,  by  jour  devouring  eyes, 
by  your  trembling  "  ands,  by  your  burning  breath  ?  Your  lips  only 
are  closed,  or  rather  they  lie,  and  their  lie  is  a  word  more  eloquent 
than  all  the  others.' 

M.  de  Moray  was  clinging  to  his  conscience,  and  would  not  con- 
sent to  be  conquered. 

'  If  my  eyes,  my  hands,  and  my  lips,  all  my  faculties,  even  my 
breath   betray   a  passion  I  disavow,  my  soul   controls   it,    and  it 


A    MARTYU.  89 

wo\ild  blush  with  shame  if  1  consented  to  the  monstrous  division 
which  keeps  to  the  honored  wife  the  faithfuhiess  of  my  heart  !  ' 

It  was  too  much  for  Gorgon.     She  revolted  at  last. 

'  Si),'  she  asked,  abruptly,  '  it  is  because  the  wife  is  chaste  and 
faithful  that  the  man  who  adores  me,  whatever  he  may  pretend  to 
the  contrary,  will  not  say  to  me  :  I  love  you  ! ' 

'  Yes,  that  is  the  reason.' 

*  Ah  !  do  not  repeat  a  second  time  what  you  have  just  said,  for 
your  own  sake,  and  chiefly  for  hers.' 

*  What  mean  these  words  i ' 

'  Nothing  ! '  said  the  duchess,  already  regretting  her  threat. 
'Nothing.     They  mean  nothing.' 

'  Ah  !  take  care  ! '  said  the  count,  recovering  his  coolness,  which 
he  had  lost  for  a  moment.  '  You  are  on  the  point  of  doing  some- 
thing unworthy  of  such  a  woman  as  you  are,  to  speak  ill  of  an 
honest  woman  ! ' 

The  temptation  was  really  too  great. 

'  An  honest  woman  ! '  she  said,  with  a  sneer,  which  penetrated  to 
the  heart  of  M.  de  Moray.  '  Let  us  speak  of  that  !  After  all,'  she 
continued,  '  the  battles  of  love  are  like  all  other  battles  ;  and  every 
one  has  the  right  to  use  the  weapons  he  is  possessed  of.  Well, 
since  it  is  so,  I  raise  my  head  and  I  tell  you  that  if  your  heart  must 
belong  to  the  more  worthy,  I  claim  it  and  I  take  it ! ' 

The  count  made  a  gesture  of  cold  anger.  In  this  moment  all  his 
passion  had  vanished.  He  did  not  know  whether  he  loved  the 
woman  who  was  before  him  or  not.  He  knew  only  one  thing  :  A 
human  being,  whoever  she  was,  had  just  insulted  the  woman  who 
bore  his  name. 

'  Are  you  aware,'  he  cried,  '  that  in  the  words  you  have  just  pro- 
nounced, there  is  an  odious  accusation  and  an  odious  calumny 
directed  against  the  Countess  de  Moray  ? ' 

*  An  accusation,  perhaps.  A  calumny,  no,'  said  the  duchess,  with 
spirit.     '  You  have  already  the  proof  that  I  am  not  one  who  lies.' 

'  Then  you  will  explain  yourself,  and  you  will  tell  me ' 

.  '  What  ? ' 

*  All  !  all  that  you  know,  or  rather  that  you  pretend  to  know  ! ' 
The  count  was  standing,  as  was  also  his  adversary.   For  now  one 

would  have  said  they  were  two  mortal  enemies  face  to  face.  The 
man  had  seized  the  woman's  arm,  and  was  clenching  it  as  if  ho 
would  break  it. 

*  Speak  !  why  don't  you  speak  / '  cried  Roger. 

The  duchess  disengaged  herself  violently,  regaining  her  freedom 
with  all  her  plebeian  strength. 

*  Well,  no  ! '  she  said,  losing  her  senses  ;  '  I  will  say  nothing,  for 
if  I  spoke  you  would  kill  her  !  ' 

F 


90  A  MARTYR. 

No  avowal,  if  it  had  been  voluntary,  could  bo  a  more  terrible 
accusation.  And  «fill  it  was  true,  the  anger  of  the  count  had  opened 
fiorgnn'a  eyes.  Until  then  she  hud  thought  that  the  discovery  of 
the  fiiult  of  the  countess  would  only  provoke  a  judiciary  separation, 
a  (iivoice  between  the  cou[)h».  Hut  now  she  understood  that  the 
eflect  was  far  beyond  luT  anticipation,  and  that  the  life  itself  of  the 
guilty  one  was  at  stake.  Be  that  as  it  may,  nothing  could  be  more 
terribly  accusing  than  her  cry  of  distress,  and  M.  de  Moray  felt  it. 
All  his  being  was  moved  in  a  fit  of  rage  and  despair  at  the  same 
time. 

'  1  would  kill  her  ! '  ho  cried,  stepping  backwards,  astounded 

and  r(  ariiig,   'You  .say  I  would .  But  it  is  becaiiseit  is  true  that 

she  is  false .   She  betrays  me  !  she  dishonors  my  name  !' 

And  the  laiigh  of  a  maniac  came  from  his  throat. 

'  Ah  !  ah  !  ah  !  *  he  cried,  '  Laura  !  my  wife  !  An  angel  of  mo- 
desty, of  honor  and  virtue.  She  !  the  wife  who  has  given  me  her 
whole  lift)  !  wlio  has  followed  me  through  all  my  perils  !  who  has 
shared  all  my  tears  and  all  ray  joys  !  She  !  the  mother  whose  love 
is  inexhuuHtiljle,  whose  devotion  is  limitless  !  she  !  who  is  adored, 
yes,  adored  by  her  husband  and  her  daughter  !  Ah  !  the  stupid 
invention,  and  how  good  of  you  to  have  invented  that  ;  because,  in 
truth  1  know  not  if  I  have  ever  loved  you,  you  who  have  tried  to 
wound  mo  so  deeply  !  ' 

Gorgon  was  agitated  by  divers  sentiments.  She  was  ashamed  of 
her  denunciation.  She  had  pity  on  the  despair  she  had  provoked. 
But  she  was  also  wounded  by  being  suspected  of  having  told  a  lie 
BO  low  and  cowardly.  However,  her  good  instincts  overcame  her 
evil  ones.     She  resigned  herself. 

'  Very  well  !  '  she  said.  '  I  have  lied  to  try  your  love.  I  have 
calumniated  the  innocent  to  find  out  what  punishment  you  would 
mete  out  to  the  guilty.  And  chiefly,  I  wanted  to  probe  to  the  bot- 
tom of  your  heart  to  know  what  ppace  in  it  wo\ild  be  left  for  me,  if 
ever,  per  chance,  the  place  occupied  by  Mtne.  de  Moray  became 
vacant.  I  know  what  I  wanted  to  know.  You  can  go  now.  We 
shall  never  see  each  other  again  !  ' 

And  here  her  voice  failed.  Her  new  attitude  frightened  the  count 
more  than  her  accusation.  He  fell  struck  to  the  heart  a  second 
Ame. 

'  There  must  be  some  truth  in  this  infamy  ! '  he  thought. 

And  he  ivanted  to  know  at  all  hazards.  Only,  having  failed  by 
anger  and  despair,  he  tried  other  means, 

'  You  have  wounded  me  deeply,'  he  said  trying  to  show  a  calm- 
ness which  he  was  far  from  feeling.  '  But  I  forjiive  you  on  accoimt 
of  the  frankness  von  have  shown.  As  you  haVe  said,  in  love  every- 
thing is  fair.  Well !  I  will  answer  with  equal  frankness.  You 
wishod  to  know  what  would  happen  if  the  place  occupid  in  my  heart 


A   MARTYR.  91 

by  Miue.  de  Moray  became  vacant.  I  will  tell  you.  1  am  one  of 
those  men  who  do  not  admit  of  tre;ichery,  either  for  or  against  them. 
You  are  a  witness  that  I  wished  to  keep  towards  her  who  is  my 
wife,  my  whole  faith.  But  if  ever  she  should  become  unworthy  of 
it,  there  would  remain  for  her,  neither  a  regret,  nor  even  a  remem- 
brance, in  the  heart  she  would  have  broken.  And  as  I  am  also  one 
(if  those  men  who  cannot  live  without  sharin^'  with  a  woman  all 
their  thoughts  and  all  their  atFectioiis,  a  second  one  would  infallibly 
exercise  over  me  the  empire,  which  the  drst  would  have  voluntarily 
renounced.  This  other  one  to  whom  I  would  devote  myself, 
and  to  whom  I  would  belong,  I  need  not  name  to  you,  who  four 
months  ago  took  possession,  against  my  will,  of  all  the  sensations 
and  of  all  the  aspirations  of  my  being !  ' 

M.  de  Moray  had  dra»vn  near  the  duchess  while  speaking.  His 
voice,  so  rough  aiid  hoivrse  a  little  before,  had  taken  inflections  full 
of  softness  to  convince  her.  Was  he  saying  the  truth  i  Was  he 
j)layinn  a  comedy  in  order  to  find  out  the  secrets  she  would  not  yield 
to  his  threats  i     Gori^on  did  not  know.     She  was  still  hesitating. 

'You  told  me,'  she  said  with  an  interrogative  smile,  'that  you 
would  kill  her  if  you  should  ever  learn  that  she  had  betrayed 
you  ? ' 

*  No  !  '  said  the  count.  '  I  would  merely  drive  her  out  of  my 
house.     She  would  not  deserve  a  nobler  auger  on  my  part.' 

C nance  had  brought  them  during  this  conversation  near  a  win- 
dow of  the  room  overlooking  the  yard.  The  bell  of  the  hall  door  was 
rung,  and  a  man  entered.  It  was  M.  Smith,  the  jeweller.  A  saint 
might  have  resisted  the  temptation  thus  offered  by  chance  ;  (iorgon, 
who  was  far  from  being  a  saint,  succumbed  to  it. 

'  Well,'  she  said,  '  if  you  want  to  know  the  truth,  enquire  of  that 
man.     He  can  tell  it  to  you.' 

Then  M.  de  Moray,  yielding  to  a  thoughtless  feeling,  opened  the 
window. 

'  M.  Smith  !  '  he  cried. 

The  jeweller  raised  his  head  and  recognized  the  count.  He 
bowed. 

'  Please  come  up,'  continued  M.  de  Moray.  '  I  have  a  few  words 
to  say  to  you.' 

Then  he  ranj;,  after  closing  the  window,  and  told  the  servant  who 
answered  the  bell  to  ask  the  gentleman  to  step  into  the  next  room, 
after  which  he  turned  to  the  beautiful  Italian  and  asked  coolly  : 

'  Pray  explain  how  the  terrible  secret  you  refuse  to  divulge  is  in 
the  possession  of  that  man  ? ' 

Carried  away  by  the  rapidity  of  events,  Gorgon  had  gone  so  far 
now  that  it  was  impossible  to  draw  back.  She  understood  that  she 
must  tell  all. 


92  A   MARTYR. 

*  M.  Smith,'  sho  answered,  '  brings  one  hundred  thousand  francs 
to  your  wife  who  has  engaged  her  diamonds  to  redeem  from  her 
lover  the  letters  sho  has  had  the  imprudence  to  write.' 

The  count  did  not  even  shudder,  this  time.  He  had  assumed 
the  impassibility  oi  a  judge.     He  bowed. 

'  Madam,'  he  said,  '  you  have  just  pronounced  a  sentence.  That 
of  my  wife,  if  you  have  told  the  truth.  That  of  your  brother  if  you 
have  lied,  if  the  honor  of  Mme.  de  Mi>ray  is  proof  against  the 
accusation  you  have  borne  against  her,  1  phall  kill  M.  Annibal 
Palmeri  to-morrow.  Now  1  exact  that  you  will  not  contradict  one 
single  word  of  what  I  am  going  to  say  to  this  witness  on  whom  de- 
pends the  discovery  of  tlio  truth.' 

And  going  towitrds  the  next  room,  the  count  opened  the  door  and 
called  the  jeweller. 

'  Please  come  in,  M,  Smith,'  he  said. 

'  You  desire  to  speak  to  me,  M.  de  Moray  ? '  asked  that  man, 
taking  the  seat  indicated. 

'  Yes,  M.  Smith,  I  wanted  to  tell  you to  speak  of ' 

In  spite  of  his  coolness,  he  felt  that  his  own  voice  had  a  strange 
accent,  and  as  he  did  not  want  to  awaken  the  suspicions  rf  the  one 
who  was  to  decide  the  fate  of  his  life,  he  tried  to  justify  the  state 
of  his  mind. 

'  You  must  n(»tice,  M.  Smith,  that  I  feel  a  little  emotion.  The 
reason  is  that  the  moment  you  arrived,  madam  was  telling  me  of  a 
great  secret  with  which  you  are  mixed  np.' 

'  A  great  secret  with  which  I  am  mixed  up  ? ' 

'  Yes.  But  I  have  forgotten  to  present  you  to  the  Duchess  de 
San  Lucca,'  naid  the  jeweller. 

*  1  have  the  honor  of  being  acquainted  with  Mme.  de  San  Lucca.' 

*  Ah  !  then  I  have  only  to  tell  you  what  this  secret  is.  The 
duchess,  who  is  the  friend  and  the  contidente  of  Mme.  de  Moray  in 
her  good  works,  was  telling  mo  just  now  that  the  countess,  to  pro- 
vide for  the  necessities  of  her  inexhaustible  charity,  has  entrusted 
to  your  care  a  part  of  Imr  family  jewels,  in  exchange  or  as  a  gua- 
rantee for  the  loan  of  an  important  sum  of  money,  one  hundred 
tliousand  francs  !  Madame  de  San  Lucca,  in  the  interest  of  her 
friend,  has  told  ine  of  it.  She  thought  1  w(  ;dd  be  happy  to  asso- 
ciate myself  with  the  work  of  charity  the  countess  was  too  discreet 
to  speaic  of,  and  she  told  mo  everything.  You  see  that  I  know  all, 
and  that  you  have  no  reason  for  reserve  if  I  ask  you  to  enter  into  a 
little  plot  with  me.' 

'  While  very,  very  happy  to  be  a  party  to  the  plot  you  are  medi- 
tating,' said  the  jeweller,  quite  pleased,  *  I-must  tell  you  that  what 
the  duchess  has  told  you  is  quite  true.  Mme.  de  Moray  has  effec- 
tively asked  me  for  one  hundred  thousand  francs,  which  I  was  to 
give  her  to-morrow  ;  but  the  returns  I  was  expecting  failed  me  at 


A  MARTYR.  93 

the  last  moment,  and  I  was  coming  to  ask  your  wife  for  another 
delay  of  a  few  days. ' 

These  words  confirmed  the  reality  of  the  loan  attempted  by  Mme. 
de  Moray,  and  the  count  had  no  doubt  but  it  was  for  the  reason 
advanced  by  the  Ducliess  de  San  Lucca.  He  felt  somethinj;  like 
the  stroke  of  a  dagger  at  his  heart,  but  he  had  enougii  strength  not 
to  betray  himself. 

•  Ah  ! '  he  said,  even  affecting  to  smile  with  approbation,  'you 
are  not  in  a  position  to  give  her  that  sntn.  Well,  no  matter,  it 
changes  nothing  in  the  combination  I  was  coing  to  propose.  On 
the  contrary  it  gives  me  an  idea  which  will  facilitate  the  execution 
of  the  plot  I  was  speaking  of.  What  is  important  is  that  nothing 
should  disturb  the  execution  of  the  charitablo  projects  of  the  coun- 
tess, and  you  will  see  that  it  is  the  simpleat  thing  in  the  world. 
You  have  the  jewels  of  Mme.  de  Moray  at  your  store,  no  doubt  ; 
will  yon  be  so  kind  as  to  go  and  got  theui '? ' 

'  Pardon  me,  sir,'  said  M.  Smith.  '  I  have  thorn  with  me.  I 
thought  I  should  take  them  with  me  in  case  Mme.  de  Moray,  not 
receiving  the  money  at  the  date  appointed,  should  change  her  uiind, 
or  should  prefer  to  address  herself  to  some  other  jeweller.' 

'  Then  everything  is  for  the  best.  Here  is  what  we  will  do.  You 
will  give  mo  the  jewels,  iti  exchange  for  the  money  which  you  will 
remit  to  my  wife  ;  it  is  well  understood  that  you  will  not  tell  her 
where  it  comes  from.  In  this  way  she  will  be  satisfied,  and  the 
diamonds  will  not  ljo  out  of  the  hcniae.' 

'  Depend  on  mo,'  said  the  jeweller,  and  he  retired. 

M.  do  Moray  was  anxious  to  6nd  himself,  if  not  alone,  at  least 
delivered  from  the  presence  of  a  stranger  before  whom  he  was 
obliged  to  fei:;n  a  perfect  quietness  of  mind,  and  M.  Smith  was 
hardly  out  of  the  room  when  the  count  abandoned  himself  to  a 
paroxysm  of  despair.  He  was  walking  like  a  maniac  about  the 
room,  breaking  the  furniture,  and  striking  the  walls  with  his 
clenched  fist. 

*  So,  it  is  true  ! '  he  was  crying.  '  She  was  betraying  me  !  Oh  ! 
the  wretch  !  the  infamous  woman  !  And  while  I  was  stifling  at  the 
bottom  of  my  heart  a  violent  passion,  an  indomitable  love,  even 
going  as  far  as  to  deny  that  love,  for  [  have  <lenied  it,  while  I  was 
lying  through  idiotic  virtue,  she  was  lying  through  criminal  de- 
pravity ! ' 

It  was  hardly  a  human  being  who  was  thus   bruising  hiniself 
uttering  these  exclamations  and  roaring   with  rage,  he  was  like  a 
wild  beast  maddened  with  anger,  which  breaks  its  head  against  the 
walls  of  its  narrow  prison.     Gorgon  was  frightened. 

'  F«»r  pity's  sake,*  she  said,  *  calm  yourself  !  ' 

The  sound  of  her  voice  changed  the  direction  of  his  mind.  To 
useless  anger,  to  powerless  despair,  succeeded  a  burning  desire  for 
revenge. 


M  A   MARTYR. 

'  Very  well,'  he  said.  *  I  am  calm.  One  word  only.  What  is 
the  name  of  her  accomplice  ? ' 

'  His  name  ?    I  do  not  know  it.' 

'  Is  it  truo  ?  Take  care  that  you  do  not  lie  !  You  have  gone  so 
far  now.  that  210  consideration  of  prudence  or  pity  can  prevent  you 
from  telling  me  all !     That  name.     Tell  me  his  name.' 

*  I  swear  that  I  do  not  know  it.' 

'1  will  find  out.  And  where  will  she  remit  the  money  to  this 
trader  in  female  virtue  1 ' 

*  I  can  tell  you  that.  To-morrow  at  four  o'clock,  they  are  to 
meet  in  t!ie  church  of  Saint-Germain-des-Pi63.  He  will  bring  the 
letters,  and  she  will  take  the  money  to  him.' 

'  And  it  is  in  a  church  that  this  monstrous  bargain  is  to  be  accom- 
plished !  Ah  !  my  God  !  is  it  because  yon  were  so  indulgent  to  the 
woman  taken  in  adultery,  that  this  woman  has  chosen  your  house 
to  meet  her  lover.     Ah  !  the  wretches  !  the  wretches  ! ' 

And  he  sobbed  bitterly.  With  his  head  in  his  hands  he  remained 
quiet  for  a  moment.     Then  forcing  himself  to  be  calmer,  he  ad'led  : 

*  To-morrow  !  I  will  say  nothing  until  then,  hiding  in  the  inner- 
most of  my  soul  the  secret  of  my  shame,  and  my  anger  !  But  to- 
morrow !  ah!  to-morrow  !  1  will  spy  each  one  of  her  steps,  I  will 
see  her,  in  hypocritical  piety  cross  the  threshold  of  the  church.  I 
will  witness  the  interchange  of  the  letters  and  of  the  money,  and  I 
will  have  the  courage  to  hide  myself  and  be  silent,  because  I  will  be 
in  the  house  of  God.  But  when  both  are  outside.  Then  with  de- 
termination I  will  vindicate  my  honor  ! ' 

'  And  what  will  you  do  ? '  asked  Gorgon.  '  Rem'imber  you  have 
sworn  to  spare  her  life  !  ' 

'  I  have  sworn  for  the  woman,  but  not  for  the  lover.  I  will  drive 
her  out  of  my  house,  and  I  will  kill  the  man  ! ' 

'  And  when  your  revenge  is  satisfied,'  said  Gorgon  with  a  start  of 
joy,  '  you  will  remember  that  I  love  you  ! ' 

Shortly  after,  the  count  went  down  to  see  the  jeweller,  and 
handed  him  the  money.  Of  course,  M.  de  Moray  had  not  such 
a  sum  in  his  house,  so  he  gave  a  cheque. 

'  Since  your  wife  is  to  be  ignorant  of  your  intentions,'  said  the 
jeweller,  '  I  will  go  to  the  bank  at  once,  and  take  notes  which  I 
will  remit  to  Mme.  de  Moray  to-morrow  morning,  unless  I  bring 
them  here  within  an  hour  or  so.' 

'  It  is  tin  excellent  idea,'  answered  the  count.  '  Moreover,  my 
wife  will  perhaps  be  happy  to  have  the  money  earlier.  In  spite  of 
the  assurance  you  have  given  her,  she  might  be  anxious. ' 

'Very  well,  it  is  understood.  I  will  come  back  during  the 
day.' 

And  M.  Smith  went  away,  after  having  pro.aised  M.  de  Moray 
to  keep  their  interview  secret.  After  he  w«a  left  alone,  Roger 
opened  thb  case  containing  the  jewels. 


i.  MARTYR.  95 

'  Here  they  are,  these  jewels  ! '  he  said  with  a  heart-rending  sigh, 
'  these  jewels  a  thousand  times  more  precious  by  the  memories  they 
recall  than  by  their  value,  which  is  enornioua.  They  have  been 
worn  before  this  worthless  woman  by  her  parents  and  mine.  Family 
jewels  consecrated  by  the  foreheads  aud  shoulders  of  honest 
women  !  Jewels  given  by  my  love  on  our  weddint<-day  !  And  Laura 
was  pledging  them  to-day  to  pay  the  ransom  of  her  lost  honor  !  I 
hold  them  in  my  hand  !  They  bear  witness  to  my  shame  and  to 
her  crime  !  Yes,  by  them  I  have  tlie  proof  of  my  dishonor  !  And 
still,'  he  continued,  his  heart  suftening  in  spite  of  himself,  '  there 
is  a  doubt  in  my  soul  !  All  the  past  revives  before  my  eyes  !  All 
my  recollections  of  happiness  are  awakened  in  my  memory  '  It 
seems  to  me  that  at  this  moment  I  hear  my  daughter's  voice  cry- 
ing :)  "It  is  not  true,  father,  it  is  not  true  !  She  loves  us  both  too 
much  to  have  done  what  she  is  accused  of  !  "  Ah  !  these  proofs  !  if 
they  were  only  false  !  ' 

The  unhappy  man  was  tossed  between  ctmtending  sentiments, 
wishing  to  hope  against  hope,  and  crushed  by  the  terrible  evidence 
of  the  crime. 

'  Our  daughter  ! '  he  thought.  '  It  is  nevertheless  true  that  she 
must  have  forgotten  that  we  have  a  daughter  to  become  guilty  ! 
and  she  loved  so  tenderly  our  Paulette  we  were  obliged  to  leave 
behind  us  almost  dying  ;  How  is  it  that  the  recollection  of  her 
daughter  did  not  prevent  her  from  falling  !  Presently,  when  I  am 
calmer,  when  I  am  able  to  speak  without  betraying  myself  by  th» 
trembling  of  my  voice,  1  will  go  near  her,  I  will  speak  to  her  of  ou» 
beloved  Paulette,  then,  I  will  see  if,|having  forgotten  her  husband, 
she  could  also  forget  her  child.' 

The  poor  man,  thus  lost  in  a  stupid  contemplation  of  his  sorrow, 
did  not  notice  the  time  flying.  And  chance  had  it  that  at  the  same 
time  Mme.  de  Moray  thought  also  more  than  usual  of  the  dear  ab- 
sent one.  As  she  was  lost  in  these  sad  thou^'hts,  Maltar,  the  In- 
dian servant,  brought  her  a  piece  of  paper,  on  which  was  written  the 
name  of  a  visitor  who  wished  to  speak  to  htsr.  It  was  the  name  of 
Robert  Burel.  This  unexpected  visit  startled  her  like  a  threat  of  evil. 

'  Introduce  this  person,  MaUar,'  she  said,  with  a  deep  emotion, 
'  and  let  nobody  in  until  after  his  departure.' 


IV. 

Introduced  by  the  Indian,  who  went  away  at  once,  Robert  Ban  1 
bowed  respectfully.  He  was  in  a  room  of  the  first  story  which  was 
used  as  an  office  by  Mme.  de  Moray  and  her  mother,  and  which 
formed  part  of  the  count's  apartment  All  their  works  of  charity 
were  planned  in  that  room.     The  mother  and  daughter  had  access 


96  A   MARTYR. 

to  it  from  their  respective  apartiuents,  by  different  doors,  and  they 
used  to  spend  the  greater  part  of  the  day  togcither  in  it.  On  that  day, 
fortunately,  Mme.  de  la  Marche  was  not  in,  having  been  called  out- 
side by  some  family  duties  ;  Laura  was  thankful  that  she  was  thus 
permitted  to  receive  this  unexpected  visitor  without  being  obliged 
to  give  explanations  to  her  mother.  However,  Robert's  arrival 
threw  her  into  deep  trouble.     She  did  not  invite  him  to  sit  down. 

*  How  did  you  dare  to  come  ? '  asked  Laura,  with  agitation.  '  I 
was  to  meet  you  to-morrow  afternoon,  at  four  o'clock,  to  give  you 
the  money,  and  you  swore  not  to  show  yourself  in  my  husband's 
house  !  But,  in  truth,  [  do  not  understand  that>ou  are  here,  when 
you  see  the  terrible  anxiety  your  presence  throws  me  into.  Dou't 
you  hear  me  ?     Don't  you  understand  me  ? ' 

'  I  beg  your  pardon,'  said  Robert,  '  I  see,  I  hear,  I  understand 
and  I  remain.' 

He  spoke  with  coolness,  as  would  have  done  an  indifferent  "ititor 

treating  of  commonplace  questions.  And  as  if  to  better  affirm  his 

resolution,  he  took  a  chair  and  sat  down. 

'  Just  think  ! '  she  said,  moaning,  '  my  husband  might  come  ! 
> 

'  Your  husband  ?  Well,  what  does  that  matter  1  Neither  of  us 
has  anything  to  fear  on  his  part.  I  am  not  your  lover,  I  sup- 
pose ! ' 

*  And  if  he  should  ask  me  who  you  are,  what  would  I  answer  ? ' 

'  If  he  was  ill-mannered  enough  to  want  to  know  absolutely  under 
what  title  I  have  come  here,  it  would  be  very  easy  to  give  him  the 
proof  that  there  is  nothing  in  my  visit  which  would  be  likely  to 
offend  him.' 

*  Very  easy,  you  say  ?     How  ?    Except  by  telling  the  truth  ! ' 

*  Undoubtedly  ! ' 

•And  consequently,'  Laura  continued,  with  anguish,  'by  tar- 
nishing the  reputation  of  the  most  respected  of  women  !  In  throw- 
ing upon  my  mother  the  responsibility  of  an  accusation  which  would 
implicate  me  !  In  revealing  the  mystery  of  a  fault  redeemed  by 
life-long  remorse  !  in  tearing  the  heart  of  the  noble  old  man  who  is 
my  father  !  No,  no,  know  it  now  !  I  would  rather  a  thousand 
times  be  accused  of  a  crime  I  had  not  committed  than  to  divulge 
the  fault  of  my  mother  !  Yes,  by  God  who  hears  me,  I  would 
rather  that  the  whole  world  would  accuse  you  of  being  my  lover 
than  to  avow  that  you  are  my  brother  !  ' 

*  It  is  a  sublime  devotion,'  answered  Robert,  smiling,  '  but  I  hope 
you  will  not  have  to  give  any  proof  of  it.  If  anybody  should  come, 
it  would  be  easy  to  invent  some  excuse.  The  mission  of  charity 
you  fulfil  so  well  leaves  your  door  open  to  the  unknown.  Moreover, 
it  depends  on  you  to  shorten   the  length  of  my  presence  in  this 


A   MARTYR.  97 

house,  if  you  think  it  presents  such  a  grave  danger.  Only  let  me 
tell  you  the  reason  why  1  came.' 

'  Speak  quickly,  then.' 

'  Listen.  When  1  saw  you  for  the  first  time,  I  told  you  that  I 
intended  to  try  my  fortune  in  a  foreign  land,  far  away,  in  America. 
At  that  time  I  had  formed  a  project,  the  execution  of  which  de- 
pended upon  the  receipt  of  the  sum  of  money  I  have  asked 
you  for.  When  we  agreed  upon  the  amount  aud  upun  the  date  it 
would  be  remitted,  1  took  some  engagements  myself,  and  I  was 
sorely  disappointed  when  you  told  me  yesterday  you  wanted  a  delay 
of  forty-eight  hours,  because  I  had  promised  to  pay  that  money  this 
morning  to  the  parties  I  had  made  arrangements  with.  However, 
I  had  resigned  myself,  and  at  noon  to-day,  instead  of  depositing  my 
share,  I  had  to  ask  for  a  delay  of  two  days,  which  was  refused.  Others 
more  expeditious  were  ready  to  take  my  place.  In  short,  all  I 
could  obtain  was  a  delay  of  twenty-four  hours,  and  to-morrow 
at  noon,  I  must  have  the  money,  or  all  my  hopes  of  fortune  fall 
to  the  ground.' 

*  But  you  know  very  well  that  I  have  not  got  the  money  now.  I 
will  have  it  only  to-morrow.' 

'  Yes,  to-morrow  morning,  I  know,  and  it  is  exactly  for  that  rea- 
son that  I  have  come.  Instead  of  waiting  until  the  evening  to  put 
me  in  possession  of  that  money,  bring  it  to  me  as  soon  as  you  have 
it  yourself,  and  I  will  be  in  time  to  take  advanta^^e  of  the  benefits 
which  are  offered  to  me. ' 

*  Very  well,  to-morrow  morning,  then,  at ' 

At  the  very  moment  Mme.  de  Moray  was  saying  these  w» i,  the 

door  opened.     It  was  Maltar. 

'  My  mistress  will  forgive  me  if  I  came  without  being  called, '  said 
the  Indian,  '  but  it  is  for  an  important  matter.  M.  Smith  is  here. 
He  has  come  to  give  something  to  madam,  but  on  being  told  that 
she  was  engaged,  he  did  not  wish  to  disturb  her.  He  has  only 
asked  me  to  hand  this  parcel  to  madam.' 

'  Ah  ! ' 

'  It  is  something  that  he  was  to  bring  only  to-morrow  morning, 
but  he  has  thought  it  would  be  more  agreeable  to  madam  if  she  got 
it  earlier. ' 

Mme.  de  Moray  seized  a  voluminous  parcel  which  Maltar  was 
handing  her.  On  touching  it  she  felt  that  it  was  a  bundle  of  bank- 
notes. Her  features  expressed  a  deep  joy,  and  Robert  understood 
the  cause  of  it.  He  was  himself  violently  shaken.  Nothing  more 
stood  between  him  and  fortune.  He  was  calmost  tempted  to  seize 
the  parcel  which  Laura  still  held  in  her  hand  and  run  away  with 
it.     But  the  presence  of  the  Indian  would  not  allow  of  this. 

'Tell  M.  Smith  that  1  am  very  thankful  to  him,'  said  Mme.  de 
Moray  to  the  Indian,  '  I  will  go  and  see  him  to-morrow.' 


98  A  MARTYR. 

And  as  Maltar  was  not  goint;,  the  Countess  added  : 

*  What  are  you  waiting  for,  Maltar  }  ' 

'  Madam,'  he  answered,  '  Mme.  de  la  Marche  has  just  returned. 
She  is  in  the  antichamber  talking  with  M.  Smith,  and  she  is 
coming.' 

'  Ah  !  said  Laura,  starting  up. 

And  she  deposited  ou  the  table  the  envelope  containing  the  bank 
notes. 

'Ah  !  '  thought  Robert  on  his  part,  without  feeling  any  emotion, 
*  then  I  am  to  see  my  mother.  I  am  not  sorry  to  find  out  how  a 
mother  is  made.' 

The  only  sentiment  he  felt  was  curiosity,  but  it  was  strong  enough 
to  engage  all  his  attention,  and  he  did  not  at  once  claim  from  Mme. 
de  Moray  the  parcel  brought  by  M.  Smith.  Mme.  de  la  Marche 
entered  at  last. 

'  I  was  disengaged  sooner  than  I  expected,'  she  said,  *  and  I 
come ' 

She  stftpped  on  noticing  the  presence  of  a  stranger. 

*  Ah  ? '  she  went  (m,  addressing  her  daughter,  '  you  are  not  alone. 
I  will  leave  you  then  and  will  return  shortly.' 

She  crossed  the  room  to  reach  the  door  which  led  directly  to  her 
apartment,  and  in  doing  so  came  nearer  to  the  group  formed  by  her 
daughter  and  by  Robert.  He  had  risen  and  bowed  respectfully. 
Mnte.  de  la  Marche  answered  his  Siilutationby  an  inclination  of  the 
head,  and  on  looking  at  him,  she  stopped  without  thinking.  An 
embarrassing  silence  weighed  on  these  three  persons.  Mme.  de 
Moray  was  the  first  to  break  it. 

'  M.  Robert  Burel,'  she  stammered,  presenting  the  stranger. 
'  Mme.  Firmin  de  la  Marche,  my  mother,'  she  continued,  address- 
ing the  young  man. 

Robert  bowed  a  second  time,  impressed  by  the  severe  beauty  of 
this  high  lady,  whose  crown  of  white  hair  looked  like  the  silver 
nimbus  of  a  saint. 

'  I  do  not  think  I  have  met  this  gentleman  here  before,'  said 
Mme.  de  la  Marche,  who  noticed  the  embarrassment  of  her  daugh- 
ter, without,  however,  attaching  any  importance  to  it. 

'  Jn  fact,  mother,'  said  the  countess,  still  more  troubled,  '  it  is  the 
first  time  that ' 

'  It  is  the  first  time,  also,  Madam,'  said  the  young  man,  *  that  I 
am  in  your  presence.  I  did  not  expect  this  great  honor,  and  I  am, 
I  must  admit,  moved  a  little.' 

And  Robert's  voice  had  not  its  usual  firmness.  He  felt  an  agi- 
tation quite  new  to  him,  and  which  he  could  not  explain. 

'And  why  this  emotion,  sir?'  asked  Mme.  de  la  Marche,  with  a 
kindly  smile. 
Laura,  who  was  quite  near  Robert,  said  in  a  low  voice  : 
'  Tak6  care,  in  heaven's  name  !  ' 


A  MARTYR. 


n 


Without  pretending  to  have  heard  thia  recommendation,  Robert 
ansf^ered  Mme.  de  la  Marche,  but  with  a  little  bittemoss  this 
time  : 

*  The  great  consideration  which  surrounds  you,  Madam,  and  the 
high  reputation  for  benevolence  which  you  enjoy  are  sufficient  to 
justify ' 

'  Do  not  praise  me  so  much,  sir,'  said  Mine,  de  la  Marche.  *  One 
never  does  all  tho  good  one  should  d.>.' 

'  Then,  Madam,'  said  the  young  man,  *  your  daughter  is  a  noble 
exception.  Good  and  charitable  on  her  own  account,  she  is  actu- 
ally accomplishing  a  work  of  redress  which  was  incumbent  upon 
another.' 

*  In  truth  ! '  said  Mme.  de  la  Marche.  '  It  is  well,  Laura  !  Please 
tell  me  that,  sir,  because  my  daughter  willingly  conceals  the  good 
she  does.' 

'  Madam,  it  is ' 

The  C'uii^ess  quickly  interrupted  him. 

'  No,  no,  It  is  tiseless.     Do  not  tell  my  mother,  I  pray  you,  sir.' 

It  was  a  strange  situation,  and  well  calculated  to  trouble  the 
njind  of  Mme.  de  Moray.  The  poor  woman  was  trembling  at  the 
fear  that  one  imprudent  word  would  cause  her  mother  to  suspect 
the  truth.  And  she  was  the  more  afraid  that  Robert  seemed  to 
take  a  sing'dar  pleasure  in  prolonging  this  dangerous  conversation. 
Mme.  de  la  Marclie  insisted. 

'  And  1,  sir,'  she  cried,  *  pray  ycu  to  tell  me  the  object  of  your 
visit.  Smce  it  is  an  act  of  charity  on  the  part  of  my  daughter,  I 
have  a  desire  to  know.' 

Robert  bowed. 

*  I  will  obey  you,  Madam.' 

And  turning  towards  the  countess  : 

'  Fear  nothing,  Madam,"  he  said,  *  I  will  say  of  your  generous 
action  only  what  need  be  told.' 
And  then  to  Mme.  de  la  Marche, 

*  It  is.  Madam,  a  mother  who  has  abandoned  her  child.' 

*  Her  child  !  '  cried  Mtne.  de  la  Marche. 

*  Sir  ! '  muttered  Laura,  with  an  accent  of  supplication. 

*  Yes,  Madam,'  continued  the  young  man.  '  Her  child  !  a — 
daughter — yes — it  is  a  davght'W.' 

He  insisted  on  the  word  daughter,  so  as  to  divert  the  suspicions 
which  Mme.  de  la  Marche  might  conceive. 

'  Then,  it  is  a  daughter,'  continued  Robert,  *  who  has  grown  up, 
deprived  of  a  mother's  love  and  tenderness,  who  has  lived  in  isola- 
tion and  tears.  And  if  it  has  been  given  to  me  to  know  Mme.  de 
Moray,  it  is  becauVlg^flb'A  was "J^ndlrtg  a  harping  haul'  to  this  unfor- 
tunate.    She  wah[tfyi,'»jg  io  raise^h^r  'deptcsaed  rommge,   to  soothe 


» « 


°  •    •  ■  •  • 
* » *  f  t  1 1    t 

•  •  *  I       a      « 


•       •  •         I 
>       «  •         < 

i  «     •  •  •  I 


•  >  > 

t 
I  • 


100  A   MARTYR. 

the  bitterness  of  her  soul,  and  to  replace,  as  much  as  she  could,  the 
unnatural  mother  who ' 

Mme.  de  la  Marche  stopped  him  abruptly.  There  was  a  cry  of 
revolt  on  her  lips,  when  she  said  the  following  words  : 

'  The  unnatural  mother,  say  you  ?  The  word  is  very  cruel,  and  it 
is  perhaps,  a  very  unjust  accusation  which  you  bring.  Ah  !  believe 
me,  sir,  pity  the  mothers  who  are  obliged  to  abandon  their 
children,  still  more  than  you  pity  the  children  forsaken  by  them. 
You  do  not  know  as  I  do ' 

Her  voice  broke  down.     But  she  made  an  effort  and  went  on. 

'  Ah  !  you  cannot  know  as  well  as  I  do,  I,  who  have  learned  by 
the  sight  of  the  miseries  which  surround  me,  you  do  not  know  all 
that  is  horrible  for  a  woman  in  the  thought  that  her  child  will 
cease  to  belong  to  her ;  that  she  must  renounce  the  supreme  joy  of 
drying  his  first  tears,  of  spying  his  first  smile  ?  She  will  not 
receive  a  kiss  from  his  lips  !  She  will  never  see  him  ;  never  !  Do 
you  hear  this  word  ?  Never !  And  what  is  still  more  horrible  is 
that  she  will  be  ignorant  of  what  will  Ijecome  of  the  child  !  She  will 
not  even  know  if  he  has  succumbed  ;  or  if  he  is  not,  admitting  that 
he  has  survived,  a  proy  to  misery,  to  suftering  !  Ah  !  sir,  this  spec- 
tacle is  so  terrible  that  the  mother  whom  you  accuse,  very  lightly, 
perhaps,  would  undoubtedly  have  been  less  to  be  pitied  if  she  had 
had  the  cruel  consolation  of  seeing  her  child  die  before  her  eyes.' 

'  Oh  !  mother  !  '  cried  Mme  de  Moray,  '  do  not  say  it  would  be 
less  horrible  !     Just  think  in  your  turn  !     To  see  her  child  die  ! ' 

*  Yes,'  Mme.  de  la  Marche  went  on,  as  crushed  by  her  recollec- 
tions. '  It  must  be  an  inconceivable  sorrow  !  But  still  the  mother 
who  is  condemned  to  it  has  the  consolation  to  know  that  her  child 
is  in  God's  heaven,  a  pure  angel,  mowed  down  before  he  knew  the 
natne  of  sin  !  But  this  other  child  whom  the  poor  mother  has  been 
forced  to  abandon,  and  whose  fate  she  is  ignorant  of.  What  de- 
spairs he  gives  birth  to  !  Of  what  burning  tears  he  is  the  cause  ! 
At  night  she  thinks  she  sees  him,  miserable  and  despairing,  running 
after  every  woman  he  meets,  and  calling  :  "  Mother  !  Mother  ! '' 
'*  He  sutlers,"  she  says  to  herself,  "  he  calls  me  to  his  help,"  and 
she  can  do  nothing  !  Nothing  !  And  she  suffers  with  his  sufi'erings, 
and  she  cries  when  he  weeps ' 

Mme.  de  la  Marche,  who  was  standing,  nearly  fainted  in  pro- 
nouncing these  words.  It  was  because  she  was  painting  a  living  pic- 
ture of  her  own  sorrow.  Happily  Mme.  de  Moray  caught  her  in  her 
arms. 

'Oh,  mother  !  mother  ! '  she  cried,  sobbing  bitterlj'. 

Robert  remained  motionless,  transformed,  little  by  little  ;  while 
his  mother  was- speaking  he  bajl  {elt  his  icji'  I'ndiftorence  melting, 
and  the  bitterness  o|  his  rancor  mellowing.  He  had  been  mis- 
taken, he  had  misjudged.     Where  he  had  believed  there  was  only 


A   MARTYR.  101 

forgetfulnesB,  there  was  a  mysterious  wound,  always  bleeding. 
Tears,  good  real  tears,  came  to  liis  eyes,  and  for  one  moment  he 
was  tempted  to  throw  himself  at  the  feet  of  his  mother,  and  to  cry 
out : 

*  Re-assure  yourself,  at  least,  on  account  of  the  life  of  your  child, 
my  mother  !  The  being  you  have  been  obliged  to  abandon,  and  of 
whose  fate  you  are  ignorant,  is  living  ;  he  is  here,  near  you  ;  and 
all  he  asks  is  to  love  you,  to  dry  your  tears  ! ' 

He  checked  himself,  however,  not  willing  to  run  the  chance  to 
increase,  by  an  avowal,  the  sorrow  which  he  now  desired  to  lesson. 

*  Ah  ! '  he  simply  asked,  *  these  mothers  whose  sorrows  y  ihave 
portrayed  bo  eloquently,  how  can  they  live  V  * 

Mme.  de  la  Marche  raised  her  head. 

'  I  have  known  some  who  have  died  of  despair,'  she  said. 

And  she  added,  trembling. 

'  And  I  know  one  who  would  kill  herself  if  her  shame  were 
known  I ' 

It  flashed  like  an  inspiration  upon  Robert  that  he  had  done  well 
to  restrain  himself  a  moment  before. 

'  She  would  kill  herself  ?  '  he  cried,  addressing  Mme.  de  la 
Marche,  but  answering  his  own  thoughts  as  much  as  her  words. 
'  Ah  1  if  it  is  truly  so,  I  have  pronounced  an  unjust  judgement  and 
spoken  cruel  words  !  If  I  was  acquainted  with  the  woman  I  spoke 
about,  in  calling  her  unnatural,  if  I  could  speak  to  her,  as  I  speak 
to  you,  now,  I  would  say  :  **  I  repent,  pardon  me,  Madam,  pardon 
me."  ' 

Carried  away  by  the  strange  and  thrilling  situation  which  placed 
him,  the  forsaken  child,  in  presence  of  his  despairing  mother, 
Robert  instinctively  bent  the  knee  before  Mme.  de  la  Marche. 

'  Pardon  me  ! '  he  repeated  again,  as  if  he  had  personally 
ofTended  her. 

His  motion  brought  her  to  herself. 

'  Calm  yourself,  sir,'  she  said,  motioning  him  to  rise,  *  and  please 
repeat  all  I  have  told  you  to  this  deserted  child  whose  cause  you 
were  pleading  a  moment  ago.  Perhaps  she  is  tempted,  as  you  were 
tempted  yourself,  to  accuse  her  mother.     Teach  her  to  pity  her  ! ' 

'  I  will  do  so  Madam,'  answered  Robert,  who  has  mastered  his 
emotion,  *  and  your  words,  reported  by  me,  will  be  engraved  on  her 
heart  ! ' 

Mme.  de  la  Marche  was  entering  her  apartment,  when  she  stop- 
ped agaiu  and  took  a  bracelet  from  her  arm. 

*  If  the  child  you  speak  of  is  poor,'  she  said,  *  and  she  certainly 
is  since  you  implore  my  daughter's  help,  Mme.  de  Moray  will  see  to 
her  wants.  But  I  desire  she  should  have  a  souvenir  of  the  scene  she 
has  been  the  cause  of  between  us.  Ask  her  to  accept  this  simple 
jewel  in  memory  of  a  mother  !  ' 


102  A   MARTYR. 

'  The  child  will  keep  the  jewel  always,  Madam,'  he  said.  '  I 
promise  in  her  name,  and  1  thank  you  for  her.' 

Then  bendinw  over  the  hand  which  was  tendering  the  bracelet, 
he  deposited  on  it  a  kias,  in  which  he  put  all  his  new  tenderness, 
and  he  seiztsd  the  thin  golden  circlet  and  hid  it  in  his  breast. 

'Farewell,  sir,'  said  Mnio.  de  la  Marche. 

And  she  retired.  She  had  Wardly  closed  the  door,  when  in  her 
turn,  Mme.  de  Moray  gave  her  hand  to  Robert. 

*  Well  ? '  she  said.     *  Well,  brother  ? ' 

*  Ah  ! '  answered  the  young  man,  whose  eyes  filled  with  tears, 
how  I  wished  to  throw  myself  in  her  arms,  and  call  her  mother  ! 
Ah  1  wretch  !  wretch  that  I  am  !  I  who  have  cursed  her  during  so 
many  years  ! ' 

The  countess  was  the  first  to  regain  her  composure.  She  first 
tried  to  soothe  her  brother's  agitation,  and  then  she  thought  of 
hasteninc;  his  departure. 

'Now,  Robert,*  she  said,  'let  us  lose  no  time.  Thank  God  ! 
my  efforts  have  succeeded  sooner  than  I  expected.  The  money  I 
promised  you  is  there.  Take  these  banknotes  which,  I  sincerely 
hope,  will  give  you  happiness.' 

Saying  these  words  she  handed  him  the  envelope  brought  by  the 
jeweller. 

*  Why  don't  you  take  them  ! '  she  repeated,  seeing  that  her  brother 
hesitated. 

Robert  Burel  then  took  out  of  his  pocket  another  envelope,  very 
thin,  but  far  more  precious  than  the  first,  since  it  contained  the 
secret  of  the  fault  of  Mme   de  la  Marche. 

'  Take  this  in  your  turn,'  he  said  handing  the  grievous  correspon- 
dence to  Mine,  de  Moray.     *  These  are  the  letters   of   my   

of  our  mother  ! ' 

And  he  rejected  the  bank  notes  with  a  noble  gesture. 

'  It  was  a  shameful  bargain  I  was  making.  Keep  this  money, 
Laura  ;  1  shall  not  take  it.  I  do  not  want  to  sell  my  mother's  let- 
ters, now  that  I  have  seen  her  and  that  I  have  understood  her  sor- 
rows.' 

'  Take  them,  Robert,'  said  the  countess,  with  emotion.  '  Take 
them,  not  as  the  price  of  a  bargain,  but  as  a  gift,  almost  a  restitu- 
tioh  of  a  sister,  of  a  sister  who  loves  you  dearly  now  ! ' 

'  Oh  !  Laura ! '  cried  the  young  man  with  transport,  '  I,  too,  I 
love  you  with  all  my  soul  ! ' 

He  seized  and  held  her  to  his  breast,  and  was  kissing  her  with 
passion.  The  door  opened.  The  Count  de  Moray  entered,  pale  as 
death.  At  the  noise  of  the  door  which  had  been  opened  and  closed 
with  violence,  the  countess  disengaged  herself  promptly  fron.  her 
brother's  arms. 


A  MARTYR.  103 

'  Oh  !' she  cried  with  terror,  and  losing  all  coolness,  '  my  hus- 
band !  all  is  lost." 

'  Her  husband  !  '  muttered  Robert,  drawing  backwards, 

M.  de  Moray  advanced  slowly.  He  affected  to  be  very  calm,  and 
he  addressed  his  wife,  handing  her  at  the  same  time  the  jewel  case 
she  knew  so  well. 

'  Madam,'  he  said  coolly,  but  with  an  altered  voice, '  do  you  recog- 
nize this  ? ' 

'  My  diamonds  ! '  answered  the  unhappy  woman,  terrified. 

'  Yes,  your  diamonds,  which  you  pledged  in  order  to  remit  a  larjj[e 

sura  to    to  this   gentleman,  who   was  to  give  you  a  certain 

correspondence  in  exchange.  Since  I  have  given  the  money  and 
redeemed  the  jewels,  it  is  only  just  that  I  should  have  the  cor- 
respondence; give  me  those  letters.' 

'  Those  letters  !  you  want  those  letters  ?  * 

'  I  want  them.' 

The  envelope  containing  the  correspondence  had  been  deposited 
on  the  table  beside  the  bundle  of  bank  notes.  An  imprudent  look 
of  the  countess  designated  them  to  her  husband,  who  advanced  to 
get  possession  of  them.  Robert  noticed  this  motion  and  ruaiied  on 
the  envelope  which  he  seized. 

'  You  shall  not  have  these  letters,  sir,' he  cried.  '  They  belonged 
to  me,  and  1  take  back  my  property,  and  you  can  keep  your  own. 
The  money  is  there.' 

'  I  shall  not  have  them  ? '  cried  M.  de  Moray  threatening.'. 

•No!' 

The  two  men  looked  each  other  in  the  face,  ready  to  engage  in  a 
struggle.     Laura  threw  herself  between  them. 

'  Roger  ! '  she  supplicated,  '  what  do  you  suspect  1 ' 

'You  dare  aek  such  a  question,' answered  M.  de  Moray.  On  en- 
tering this  room  I  find  you  in  the  arms  of  a  man.  1  claim  some  let- 
ters for  which  you  give  an  almost  princely  ransom,  and  you  refuse 
to  give  them  up.  And  you  have  the  audacity  after  that,  to  ask  me 
what  I  suspect.     In  truth,  you  are  mad.' 

*  Yes  !  it  is  true  ! '  cried  Laura  distracted.  '  I  understand  ;  these 
jewels  in  your  hands;  this  money  you  have  given.  This  unknown, 
this  stranger  you  find  with  me,  and  lastly  tl»ese  letters  which  I  re- 
fuse to  give  up  ;  yes,  I  understand  the  horrible  suspicions  you  have 
the  right  to  c<mceive.  Appearances  are  terribly  against  me.  More 
than  appearances,  if  you  wish,  proofs.  But  do  you  not  say  to  jour- 
self  that  your  suHpicions  are  unjust,  these  signs  misleading,  these 
proofs  deceitful  ?' 

M.  de  Moray  gave  a  heart-rending  laugh. 

'  It  is  so,'  he  cried.  '  It  had  to  come  to  this.  My  jealousy  is 
absurd.  You  are  the  most  virtuous  of  women.  Come,  it  is  enough. 
Those  letters,  I  say.     I  must  have  those  letters.' 


104  A   MARTYR. 

'  Do  not  give  them  up,  Robert,'  cried  the  countess. 
And  aho  added  in  a  lower  tone,  so  that  her  brother  alone  could 
hear  her  words. 

*  Sho  hia  said  that  she  would  kill  herself  if  her  secret  was  discov- 
ered.    Do  not  give  up  these  letters.* 

The  young  man  stood  motionless,  but  firmly  resolved  to  defend 
the  secret  of  his  mother,  even  at  the  peril  of  his  life. 

'  If  these  letters  are  the  only  weapons  I  mean  to  use  against  Mme. 
de  Moray,'  said  the  count,  more  and  more  threateningly,  '  there 
are  others  which  I  can  employ  against  you,  sir  ;  take  care  ! ' 

And  he  pulled  a  revolver  out  of  his  pocket.  Robert  merely 
smiled. 

*  If  it  had  been  possible  to  do  what  you  ask,  sir,'  he  said,  *  I  would 
have  anticipated  your  threats.  Now  they  put  one  more  obstacle 
between  us  ? ' 

M.  de  Moray  was  trembling  with  anger. 

*  Don't  you  read  in  my  eyes,'  he  cried,  '  the  rage  and  the  merciless 
hatred  which  fill  my  heart  ?  Don't  you  understand  the  terrible 
struggle  I  am  fighting  against  myself  ?  Don't  you  see  that  if  you 
delay  one  minute  longer,  I  will  kill  you  / ' 

Laura  made  aiK>ther  attempt  to  calm  his  anger. 

'  Roger  !  '  she  cried,  falling  on  her  knees,  '  in  heaven's  name  !  in 
our  child's  name  I  listen  to  me  !  Believe  me,  Roger  !  If  I  did 
what  you  ask  it  would  be  a  terrible,  horrible  action  !  It  would  be 
more  than  a  cowardice  ;  it  would  be  a  crime  ! ' 

'  The?  6  letters  !  sir,  these  letters  !  '  repeated  the  count,  disdaining 
to  ans\^  er  the  prayers  and  tears  of  Laura,  who  was  kissing  his  knees. 
'  Give  them  to  me,  if  you  do  not  want  me  to  take  them  from  you  ; 
if  you  do  not  want  me  to  kill  you  ! ' 

He  had  raised  his  arm  in  the  transport  of  his  rag'*,  and  was  going 
to  fire,  when  Laura  threw  herself  between  the  two  adversaries.  She 
was  distracted  with  terror  and  despair. 

*  No  !  no  ! '  she  cried  raising  her  imploring  hands.  '  Do  not 
commit  an  unpardonable  crime  !  Do  not  strike  an  innocent  man  ! 
Since  you  must  know,  I  will  toll  you  all  !    I  will  tell  you  all  !  * 

*  The  letters  first,'  answered  M.  de  Moray,  '  I  will  listen  to  your 
pretended  justification  only  after  having  read  them.' 

*  Yes,  yes,  you  will  read  them,  but  a  single  word  will  convince 
you  better  than  all  the  letters  :  Know  it  then  1  he  whom  you  ac- 
cuse of  being  my  accomplice,  is , 

Just  at  this  moment  the  door  was  opened  with  violence.  It  was 
the  admiral  and  his  wife  entering  the  room  precipitately.  The 
noise  of  this  violent  discussion,  which  had  almost  degenerated  into 
a  fight,  had  crossed  the  doors  and  the  walls.  They  had  heard,  if  not 
the  words,  at  least  the  sounds  of  a  quarrel  which  head  reached  the 
extreme  limits  of  rage. 


A    MARTYR.  105 

*  What  is  the  matter  i  What  is  the  matter  I '  both  uskod  nt  the 
same  time. 

The  appearance  of  the  new  comers  fell  like  a  thunderbolt  between 
Laura  and  Robert.  At  the  sight  of  her  mother,  the  avowal  that 
Mme.  de  Moray  was  going  to  make  froze  on  her  lips.  The  admiral 
repeated  the  question  he  had  addressed  on  entering  the  room,  but 
to  which  he  had  not  yet  received  a  reply. 

'  Once  more,  what  is  the  matter  I ' 

*  What  is  the  matter  ? '  cried  M.  de  Moray.  '  I  will  tell  you.  The 
matter  is  that  I  am  deceived,  dishonored  !  The  matter  is  that  I 
have  just  surprised  your  daughter  in  the  arms  of  her  lover  ! ' 

'  Her  lover  ! '  repeated  the  admiral. 

'  It  is  impossible  !  it  is  false  ! '  cried  Mme.  de  la  Marche. 

'  The  matter  is,'  M.  de  Moray  continued,  mercilessly,  *  that  in- 
stead of  taking  my  revenge  of  that  treachery,  as  I  had  a  right  to,  I 
asked  the  wretches  to  give  me  the  correspondence  where  I  shall 
find  the  undeniable  proof  of  their  guilt  ! ' 

'  Then  ? '  asked  the  admiral,  panting. 

'  Then  they  refused  to  deliver  up  these  letters  ;  but  we  will  tako 
them  now,  and  you  will  read  them  yourself,  after  which  you  will 
pass  sentence  on  your  daughter  and  her  accomplice  ! ' 

'  Read  them  !  he  ? '  said  Robert. 

At  these  words  Laura  uttered  a  shriek  of  terror.  The  tiiouglit 
that  her  father  would  discover  the  secret  of  her  he  had  loved  and 
venerated  for  half  a  century,  renewed  her  energy. 

*  Never  !  '  she  cried,  stepping  backwards  and  getting  nearer  to 
Robert.     '  Never  ! You  will  not  have  them  ! ' 

*  No  !  no  !  Never  ! '  repeated  Robert  in  his  turn,  his  eyes  con- 
stantly fixed  on  the  beloved  features  of  that  mother  he  had  learned 
to  love  only  one  short  hour  since,  and  for  whom  he  was  willing^to 
sacrifice  his  life. 

*  But  you  will  give  them  up,  wretch  ! '  cried  the  count,  arrived  at 
the  paroxysm  of  rage.    *  I  will  force  you  to  deliver  them  up  ! ' 

'  Take  them  out  of  these  flames,  then  ! '  answered  the  young 
man. 

And  he  threw  the  envelope  so  eagerly  fought  for  in  the  midst  of 
a  blazing  fire.  M.  de  Moray  literally  roared.  He  rushed  towards 
the  chimney  to  gather  the  papers  which  he  thought  contained  the 
proof  of  his  dishonor.  But  Robert  pushed  him  away  with  force, 
so  as  to  give  the  tire  time  to  accomplish  its  work,  and  stood  with  his 
back  to  ^he  chimney,  with  his  arms  crossed.    A  shot  was  heard. 

'  Die  then  !  '  cried  M.  de  Moray. 

Laura  uttered  a  heart-rending  shriek  of  despair.     Robert  never 

said  a  word.     He  had  been  struck,  however,  and  he  tottered.     Ho 

had  taken  a  step  forward  and  was  holding  himself  by  the  back  of  an 

arm-chair  with  one  hand  ;  with  the  other  he  pressed   his  breast < 

n 


lOG  A   MAIITVR. 

However,  not  a  drop  of  blood  flowed  from  the  wound,  which  had 
closed  after  the  passage  of  the  bullet,  and  he  experienced  a  choking 
sensation  almost  instantaneously. 

*  Sir,'  said  the  unhappy  man,  *  I  was  without  weapons,  and  you 
have  killed  me  !    It  is  a  murder  ! ' 

He  could  say  no  more  and  fell  forward,  with  his  face  on  the  floor. 
He  was  still  breathing,  however.  Laura  then  went  and  knelt  near 
the  body  which  would  soon  be  a  corpse,  and  bending  near  enough 
to  cause  those  present  to  think  that  she  was  giving  a  last  kiss  to  her 
dying  lover,  in  the  very  presence  of  her  revengeful  husband,  she 
said  in  his  ear  : 

'  Brother,  what  do  you  command  ]  What  do  you  expect  from 
me]' 

The  approach  of  death  gives,  sometimes,  a  rapid  lucidity  to  the 
thoughts  of  the  dying,  as  it  gives  to  their  last  desires  the  authority 
of  almost  divine  will.  Robert  felt  all  the  courage  and  resoluticm 
there  was  in  the  spontaneity  of  the  motion  which  had  brought 
Laura  to  his  side,  and  which  would  not  fail  to  be  taken,  in  the  eyes 
of  all,  as  the  avowal  of  the  fault  she  had  not  co.nmitted.  He 
answered  in  a  low  voice  : 

'  Let  nobody  ever  know  the  truth  !  she  would  die  ! and 

one  is  enough  !    Never  avow  anything  ! except  to  him  you  love 

to  your  husband by  whom  I  am  struck  ! ' 

*  Yes,  only  to  him  ! '  said  Laura.     '  To  him  alone  ! 

Having  received  this  promise,  the  unhappy  man  let  fall  his  head, 
which  he  had  raised  for  a  moment,  as  if  he  had  been  waiting  for 
these  words  to  die.  A  last  convulsion  shook  his  frame,  a  last  gulp 
of  blood  came  to  his  lips,  then  a  sigh,  and  then  nothing.  His  dead 
eyes,  wide  open,  seemed  constantly  tixed  on  the  accomplice  of  his 
sublime  devotion,  as  if  to  impose  an  eternal  silence.  It  was  this 
fixed  stare  which  made  Laura  understand  that  all  was  ended.  She 
threw  herself  backwards  with  terror. 

'  Dead  ! '  she  cried,  *  he  is  dead  ! ' 

*  Now,'  said  M.  de  Moray,  '  I  am  waiting  for  you  to  pronounce 
those  words  which,  better  than  the  burnt  letters,  were  to  justify 
your  conduct  in  my  eyes.     Speak  then  ! 

'  That  I  should  speak  ! '  answered  Laura,  looking  around  her 
wonderingly,  •  That  I  should  speak  !  * 

'  Yes,'  said  Mme.  de  la  Marche,  *  tell  the  whole  truth  ! ' 

*  I  order  you  to  do  so  ! '  thundered  the  admiral. 

*  And  I  implore  you,  my  child,'  said  Mme.  de  la  Marche. 

'  Be  silent,  mother,  be  silent  ! '  muttered  Laura,  *  you  know  not 
what  you  ask,  you  do  not  even  suspect  the  tortures  you  make  me 
suff'er.' 

The  poor  woman  was  undergoing  a  terrible  torment ;  a  nervous 
trembling  was  agitating  her  body,  her  eyes  were  haggard,  her  voice 


A   MARTYR.  107 

was  short  and  shrill  ;  blood  was  rushing  to  her  brain  and  she  heard 
a  tolling  of  funeral  bells  in  her  ears.  She  felt  that  her  reason  Wiis 
leaving  her. 

*  Will  you  speak,  at  last  ? '  said  M.  de  Moray. 

Laura  looked  at  him  without  saying  a  word.  He  seized  her  by 
the  arm. 

'  What  do  you  want  me  to  tell  yo\i  ? '  she  answered. 

*  The  contents  of  tl»e  letters  which  have  been  burnt  ?  Why  did 
you  want  to  redeem  them  at  the  price  of  one  hundred  thousand 
francs  )  and  lastly,  who  was  that  man  1 ' 

'  Answer  !  Juatify  yourself,  my  beloved  daughter  ! '  said  Mme. 
do  la  Marche,  sobbing. 

'  Yes,  love  me  well  ! '  said  the  unfortunate  woman,  *  love  me 
always  ! ' 

And  she  addec?     a  a  firm  voice  : 

'  You  may  torture  me,  Roger  ;  you  may  even  kill  me  !  T  will 
say  nothing  now.' 

'  Because  nothing  could  justify  you  ! '  cried  the  husband  in  a 
thundering  voice.  '  That  man  was  your  lover,  and  I  throw  you 
out  of  my  house  ! ' 

*  And  1 — I  curse  you,'  cried  her  father. 

To  pronounce  this  cniidemnati<in  the  old  man  had  exttMided  his 
arms  and  raised  his  head  in  a  gesture  of  supreme  justice.  He  was 
at  the  same  time  the  judge  and  the  executioner.  This  last  ordeal 
was  more  than  Laura  could  bear.  A  cry  of  despair  escaped  from 
her  breast ;  she  put  her  hands  convulsively  to  her  forehead  and 
kept  them  there  for  a  long  time.  When  she  let  them  fall  a  com- 
plete transformation  had  taken  place  in  her.  Her  face  had  become 
impassive  all  at  once.  She  was  smiling,  but  her  smile  was  strange, 
unconscious,  and  her  voice,  sweet  ai  d  calm,  was  repeating  without 
trouble,  without  emotion,  and  as  if  she  had  been  proud  of  the 
avowal :  '  He  was  my  lover  ! '    The  unhappy  woman  was  mad. 

During  the  terrible  scene  which  had  just  taken  place,  every  blow 
struck  on  her  heart  had  had  a  fatal  echo  in  her  brain.  Each  rending 
of  her  heart  had  caused  deep  trouble  in  her  mind  and  had  filled  it 
with  such  darkness  that  the  poor  victim  could  no  more  distinguish 
what  was  true  from  what  was  imaginary,  so  that  now  Laura  thought 
she  was  really  guilty.  So  she  was  insane,  but  her  madnoss  ex- 
tended only  to  one  particular  thing, — the  accusation,  which  had 
weighed  so  cruelly  upon  htr,  and  on  which  her  honor  and  dearest 
all'ections  had  been  wrecked,  had  appeared  to  be  just  and  deserved  ; 
but  this  excepted,  she  was  rational.  This  madness  is  a  very  com- 
mon phenomenon  ;  it  is  called  reasoning  madness,  the  most  difficult 
to  ascertain,  because  the  patient  sustains  the  dreams  of  his  »iis- 
turbed  mind  with  all  the  louic  of  the  soundest  intelligenoe.  Laura 
knew  the  history  of  the  fall  of  her  mother,  and  in  her  mind  this 


108  A    MARTYR. 

hi8tf)ry  had  become  her  own  ;  this  fall  was  personal  to  herself. 
When  the  judge  was  called  in  to  find  out  the  cause  of  the  murder 
of  Robert,  she  appeared  before  him  in  the  attitude  of  a  culprit,  as 
if  crushed  under  the  weight  of  her  dishonor. 

'  You  aduiit,*  said  the  mai^istrate,  '  that  criminal  relations  have 
existed  between  you  and  the  man  who  has  been  killed  by  your  hus- 
band i ' 

'  I  admit  it,'  was  her  answer. 

That  was  all  she  would  say.  The  recollection  of  the  scene  had 
just  crosBod  her  mind.  They  had  spoken  of  the  victim,  and  the 
terrible  scene  of  the  murder  appeared  to  her  in  its  entirety.  She 
Haw  herself  in  an  attitude  of  prayer,  at  the  knees  of  her  husband, 
ready  to  speak,  when  all  at  once,  her  father  and  mother  had  ap- 
peared. Then  a  pistol  shot,  and  she  also  saw  Robert  ;  and  heard 
him  saying  in  her  ear  :  *  Do  not  confide  our  secret  to  anybody  ex- 
cept to  him  whose  hand  has  struck  me  ! '  Once  his  mission  accom- 
plished, the  judge  told  her  she  could  go  to  her  home.  She  retired 
to  her  room,  and  threw  herself  on  her  bed,  broken  in  body  and 
soul.  From  that  day  until  the  date  M,  de  Moray  was  called  to 
answer  the  charge  of  murder,  Laura  remained  almost  constantly 
alone.  Her  father  and  mother  had  left  the  mansion,  the  austere 
principles  of  honor  of  the  admiral  not  allowing  his  wife  to  kiss  her 
daughter  for  the  last  time  before  leaving.  The  countess  was  aban- 
doned to  the  care  of  a  chambermaid.  The  only  friend  who  re- 
mained to  her  was  very  humble.  It  was  Maltar,  the  Indian.  The 
poor  servant  felt  for  Mme.  and  Mile,  de  Moray  the  attachment  of 
the  dog  to  his  master.  It  was  on  account  of  his  devotedness  to 
Paulette  that  he  was  chosen  as  mediator  between  Laura  and  her 
husband  in  an  important  question  which  it  was  urgent  to  settle. 
The  reader  will  easily  guess  the  matter  was  about  the  unfortunate 
young  girl  left  by  her  parents  in  Pondichdry.  Paulette  was  now 
occupying  all  Laura's  thoughts.  She  was  asking  herself  with 
despair : 

'  How  can  f  hiie  my  shame  and  sorrow  from  her  !  Alas  !  it  is 
impossible,  if  I  could  only  hold  her  in  my  arms  at  the  moment 
she  will  hear  the  terrible  revelation  of  the  crime  I  have  committed  ! 
With  my  tears  and  my  kisses  I  could  try  to  alleviate  her  sorrow.  I 
could,  with  caresses,  make  her  forget  that  I  have  been  guilty.  But 
thousands  of  leagues  separate  us.  Letters  will  reveal  this  secret  to 
the  weak  child.  Alas  !  will  not  the  blow  be  too  hard,  and  will  she 
not  succuinb  when  she  learns  that  hereafter  she  must  despise  her 
mother ! ' 

This  thought  was,  to  the  unhappy  woman,  a  source  of  heart- 
rending which  all  mothers  will  understand.  Happily,  Maltar 
was  charged  by  M.  de  Moray  himself  to  appease  her  maternal  terror. 
Not  through  pity  for  his  eriminal  wife,  but  through  pity  for  hi? 


A    MARTYR.  109 

ilaiightor,  the  angel  of  iniiacence  a. id  virtue,  the  count  felt 
anxieties  similar  to  those  which  Laura  was  feehfig.  He  understood, 
as  she  did,  the  impossibility  of  revealing  the  fatal  secret  to  hia 
daughter,  at  least  for  the  present  ;  and  ht*  also  know  tliat  a  single 
imprudent  word  would  put  her  very  existeuco  in  joopardy.  Still, 
it  was  impossible  that  she  should  return  to  France,  without  being 
informed  of  these  sad  events. 

It  was  under  these  conditions  that  Maltar   was  instructed  by  M. 
de  Moray  to  transmit  his  wishes    to  Laura.     They  would  keep  on 
writing   to   Paulette  as   if  nothing  unusual  had  happened  in  their 
life.     Each  one  would  write  in  turn  by  each  mail.     Hi)wever,  they 
would  not  try  to  act  a  comedy.     It  wuuld  not  be  bad  that  Paulette 
Hhould  notice  a  tone  of  sadness  in  their  double  corre8i)ondence  ;  an 
unexplained  sadness,  almost  vague.     Nothing  more.    In  the  mean- 
tinie   M.    de   Moray   would  write   secretly  to  his  sister,   to  Annt 
Basilique,  who  had  care  of  the  poor  deserted  child.     He  would 
ac(iuaint  her  with  their   painful   situation,  and  by  each  mail,  he 
would  teli  her  the  incidents  which  would  bo   the  fatal  sequel  to  it. 
Annt  Basilique  would  judge  herself  what  would  be  the  proper  time 
to  i-eveal  the  truth  to  Paulette  without  endangering  her  life.     This 
c;)mbination  was  the  best  they  could  adopt  in  their  disaster.     Both 
knew  the  intelligent  devotedness  of  Aunt  Baailit^ue,  and  that  none 
coidd  unveil  the  mystery  which  was  to  bosea  ed  to  Paulette  for  the 
time  being  with  so  much  prudence. 

The  Indian  had  faithfully  carried  the  message  of  his  master  to 
Mme.  de  Moray  ;  she  had  listened  without  interupting  him,  accept- 
ing everything,  resigned  to  everything.  Malta  went  away  with  a 
heavy  heart.  He  continued  to  respect  and  \>ye  Mme.  de  Moray. 
He  pitied  her  and  wept  for  her,  saying  to  himself  that  in  spite  of  all 
the  proofs  and  all  the  avowals,  a  woman  so  ^ood  could  not  be  guilty. 

We  will  be  brief  now,  and  will  simply  say  a  few  words  of  Gorgon. 
Once  only  Roger  and  the  duchess  found  themselves  together.  It 
was  an  official  interview,  in  which  nobody  could  suspect  the  mutual 
passion  which  had  seized  them  at  one  time.  Gorgon  could  afford 
to  be  patient  now.     The  future  was  hers. 

Although  we  have  not  expressly  said  so,  our  readers  will  easily 
understand  that  M.  de  Moray  was  to  be  called  upon  to  render  an 
account  of  his  acts  to  the  justice  of  men.  The  murderer  of  Robert 
Burel  must  be  subjected  to  common  law,  even  when  everything 
tended  to  prove  that  he  had  acted  under  the  excitement  recognized 
l»y  law  to  be  an  admissible  excuse.  M.  de  Moray  having  intention- 
ally killed  a  man,  had  to  account  for  his  action.  The  result  could 
not  be  doubtful.  The  murderer  was  acquitted.  The  very  next  day 
M.  de  Moray  took  an  action  for  divorce  against  his  wife  and  a 
judgment  pronounced  the  dissolution  of  his  marriage.  Laura  had 
not  attempted   to  defend  herself.     Twenty-four  hours   after,  she 


lit)  A  MARTYR. 

who  had  no  longer  the  right  to  call  herself  Countess  de  Moray,  re- 
ceived the  order  to  le%ve  the  old  manaion.  The  brutal  procosa  of 
law  which  chased  her  out  of  the  abode  in  which  all  her  tender  mem- 
ories were  gathered,  was  the  last  drop  of  bitterness  which  filled  the 
chalice  to  the  brim.  Once  more  she  bowed  her  head  and  submitted 
when  she  was  obliged  to  leave,  without  lope  of  entering  it  again, 
tlie  house  in  which  she  had  passed  the  happiest  years  of  her  life. 

Now  the  Count  de  Moray  was  free  and  the  ni)ble  and  saintly 
Martyr  was  going  to  pursue,  still  more  painfully,  the  march  she  had 
commencfd  on  the  road  to  her  calvary. 


End  of  tiir  FmsT  Part. 


A   MARTYR.  Ill 


»«• 


^art  Sftt^nA. 


'IVE  months  have  elapsed  since  the  last  events  we  have  narrat- 
ed. We  are  now  at  the  beginning  of  the  year  1885.  The  reader 
has  seen  at  the  end  of  the  first  part  of  this  true  story,  that 
three  months  had  been  sufficient  to  M.  de  Moray  to  obtain  a 
judgment  of  divorce.  This  rapidity  of  procedure  is  unexampled,  and 
can  only  be  explained  by  the  peculiar  ^circumstances  in  which  it  was 
presented  to  the  judges.  After  the  del  eryof  the  judgment,  and  after 
the  performance  of  the  ceremony  <  divorce  at  the  mayor's  office, 
Mme.  de  Moray  had  left  de  Varennes  street,  and  had  rented  a  small 
apartment  on  Frangois  I.  street.  We  said  Mme.  de  Moray.  It 
is  through  the  force  of  habit  that  we  still  give  her  that  name,  for 
she  had  no  right  to  it  any  longer  ;  she  had  renounced  it  with  cruel 
sorrow.  When  she  signed  her  lease,  it  was  the  first  time  in  many 
years  that  she  had  given  her  maiden  name.  But  now  she  had  not 
the  right  to  take  another,  and  it  was  with  tears  in  her  eyes  and 
with  a  trembling  hand  that  she  had  written :  Laura  de  la  Marche. 
Her  modest  apartment  was  on  the  third  story  and  she  occupied  it 
alone  with  a  servant.  She  could  easily  have  lived  according  to  her 
old  habits  of  comfort.  The  dissolution  of  her  marriage  had  broken 
the  community  of  fortune  existing  between  her  and  M.  de  Moray, 
and  had  put  each  of  them  in  possessioh  of  their  dowry.  However, 
this  fortune  which  she  had  to  take  back,  amounting  to  nearly  one 
million,  was  crushing  her.  She  resolved  to  give  it  to  the  poor. 
They,  at  least,  would  not  seek  the  source  of  the  help  they  would 
receive. 

Laura,  since  her  divorce,  had  not  dared  to  go  to  see  the  father  and 
mother  whom  she  venerated  and  adored.  Her  letters  had  remained 
without  answer.  Even  some  had  been  returned  to  her  un-opened. 
It  had  been  a  horrible  heart-breaking,  when,  in  the  envelope,  she 
had  found  the  pages  in  which  she  was  imploring  the  pardon  of  a 
fault  she  had  not  committed,  but  of  which  she  thought  herself  really 
guilty,  since  the  terrible  scene  which  had  overthrown  her  reason, 
and  had  been  the  cause  of  her  brother's  death.  She  felt  crushed 
by  the  disdainful  silence  of  her  parents.  She  was  not  only  suffer- 
ing from  her  own  sorrow,  she  also  felt  her  mother's,  because 
she  k  JW  very  well  that  the  heart  of  Mme.  de  la  Marche  was 
panting  to  bring  her  some  consolation.  It  was  certainly  the  inflex- 
ible will  of  the  head  of  the  family  which  kept  her  silent. 


112  A  MARTYll. 

*  Ah  ! '  she  said  one  day,  tirod  and  discouraged,  '  1  cannot  live 
thuB  any  longer.  I  must  see  both  of  thern,  '^ven  if  they  drive  me 
out  after  !  ' 

So  one  morning  she  had  dragged  herself  to  the  house  whore  her 
parents  lived,  in  the  neighborhood  of  the  Trocadem,  She  had  rung 
at  the  door,  and,  as  a  stranger  would  have  done,  she  had  told  the 
servant  who  had  answered  to  notify  Mme.  de  la  Marche  that  a  per- 
son wished  to  speak  to  her.  The  unhappy  woman  did  not  dare  to 
say  :  Tell  my  mother  that  her  daughter  wishes  to  speak  to  her.  A 
person.  She  had  Ubcd  this  humble  word  which  the  poor  knew  so 
well.  Unhappily,  however  changed  and  unlike  herself  she  was,  the 
servant  had  recognized  her.  And  as  his  master  had  given  the 
strictest  orders,  in  the  expectation  that  Laura  would  come  and  see 
her  mother,  the  man  did  not  dare  to  carry  her  message.  He  re- 
mained on  the  doorstep,  to  prevent  the  entrance  of  his  master's 
daughter. 

'  Madam,'  he  said,  much  troubled,  *  Madam,  will  excuse  me  but  I 
cannot  do  what  madam  is  asking  ;  I  would  be  dismissed.' 

'  I  beg  of  you  ! '  Laura  supplicated,  humiliating  herself  before 
that  servant  she  had  very  often  treated  with  generosity.  *  I  beg 
of  you  !  ' 

She  had  not  the  strength  to  pronounce  another  word.  Her  legs 
bent  under  her.     She  almost  fell  on  the  doorstep. 

*  Alas  !  madam,  compose  yourself  ! '  said  the  servant,  feeling  deep 
emotion  himself.     *  You  know  very  well  that  I  cannot ! ' 

*  It  is  true  ! '  muttered  poor  Laura,  *  and  I  must  not  ask  you  to  do 
what  is  forbidden.  But  my  father  has  not  told  you,  at  least,  to  re- 
pulse me  from  the  steps  of  these  stairs.  Then,  please  let  me  stay 
here,  for  charity's  sake  ! ' 

And  as  the  door  had  been  closed  against  her,  she  sat  down  on  the 
■tone  to  wait  until  her  father  or  her  mother  should  come  out.  She 
remained  in  her  position  for  nearly  an  hour.  During  this  long  time 
several  persons  passed  by  her,  either  going  up  or  coming  down  ; 
they  would  turn  around  and  look  with  amazement  at  the  desolate 
attitude  of  that  woman  in  deep  mourning,  At  last  the  servant 
who  had  already  spoken  to  her,  reopened  the  door  and  approached 
her. 

'  Madam  ! '  said  the  good  fellow,  in  a  trembling  voice,  '  madam, 
you  must  go.  Do  you  see  !  Although  it  is  very  strictly  forbidden, 
when  1  noticed  that  you  were  there,  I  went  and  told  M.  de 
la  Marche.  He  was  not  alone  when  I  entered  the  room.  Madam 
was  at  his  side,  sitting  silently  in  an  arm-chair,  as  she  is  in  the 
habit  of  doing  now  since — since  many  months.  Then  at  the  risk  of 
raising  my  master's  anger,  I  told  him  what  had  happened,  and ' 

He  hesitated  to  continue. 

'  And  ?' said  Laura,  with  beating  heart. 


A  M>RTVR  113 

'  And  M.  de  la  Marche  did  not  interrupt  mo.  Hnd  when  I  had 
done,  '•  I  do  not  know  the  person  ytm  gpeak  of,"  he  paid,  "  We 
will  not  go  out  until  she  haa  left  the  house."  ' 

A  sob  came  to  Laura's  throat.     The  servant  continudd  : 

'  Then  Mme.  de  la  Marche  looked  at  her  hu.sl)and  with  eyes  that 
would  have  softened  a  gaoler,  nnd  joined  her  hands  in  a  jjesture  of 
supplication  without  daring  to  speak.  "  Go  and  do  as  I  told  yoti  !  " 
my  master  said,  harshly.  I  left  the  room  and  waited  some  time  in 
the  hall,  hoping  to  be  recalled.  But  it  has  been  useless.  I  only 
hear*l  through  the  door  murmurs  and  sounds  of  prayer,  and  violent 
bursts  of  anger.  A  moment  after  Mme.  de  la  Marche  crossed  the 
hall  with  agitated  features.  A  violent  scene  had  undoubtedly 
taken  place.  1  believe  that  if  you  do  not  go  awny  from  here  mis- 
fortune will  fall  upon  your  mother,  who  is  already  unhappy,  as  it 
can  be  plainly  seen. ' 

Laura  mechanically  rose,  and  went  away,  having  thanked  the 
servant ;  she  returned  home  exhausted.  When  she  arrived  her 
servant  met  her. 

*  Ma'lam,'  she  said,  a  man  has  been  waiting  for  you  for  the  past 
hour.     He  has  a  very  queer  costume.   He  says  madam  knows  him.' 

Laura  pushed  the  door  open  and  uttered  a  shriek.   It  was  Maltar. 
Maltar  !  What  recollections  this  name  awakened  in  her  !  Memories 
sweet  and  painful  at  the  same  time. 

'  You  !  '  cried  Laura,  *  you,  Maltar,  in  my  house  ! ' 

There  was  almost  an  accent  of  joy  in  the  tone  in  which  she  pro- 
nounced these  words.  It  seemed  to  her  that  the  faithful  servant  of 
M.  de  Moray  could  not  be  in  her  house  unless  sent  by  her  husband 
himself.  The  Indian  probably  understood  her  thoughts,  for  he  at 
once  undeceived  her,  in  order  that  the  dream  having  lasted  but  a 
short  time  the  awakening  would  be  less  painful.  He  came  near 
Laura,  and  bending  his  knee,  he  took  her  hand  and  kissed  it  re- 
spectfully. 

'  Mistress,'  he  said  softly,  *  Maltar  has  come  secretly,  without 
saying  anything  to  anybody.  Mistress  will  forgive  Maltar,  who 
loves  her  always  ] ' 

*  Ah  ! '  muttered  Laura,  '  what  was  I  thinking  of  ?  Was  that  pos- 
sible ? ' 

And  motioning  to  the  Indian  to  rise,  she  showed  him  a  seat.  He 
refused  it. 

Oh  !  mistress  !  '  he  said. 

And  he  sat  on  the  floor,  Indian  style,  (m  his  heels. 

'  Like  this,'  he  said,  '  as  in  India.' 

The  name  of  the  country  where  her  daughter  was,  thinking  of  her 
having  no  knowledge  of  her  unhappiness,  caused  her  tears  to  flow. 

'  As  in  India  ! '  she  repeated,  '  as  in  olden  times  ! ' 

And  she  went  on,  after  a  moment  of  silence  : 


114  A   MARTYR. 

'Thank  you,  Maltar,  1  am  grateful  that  vou  have  coni*),  because 
it  proves  to  me  that  there  is  at  least  one  being  in  the  world  who  has 
not  abandoned  me.     Thank  you  ! ' 

She  was  repeating  h*^r  thanks,  her  soul  full  of  gratitude.  Oh  I  the 
unhappy  and  the  poor  !  If  we  only  knew  how  a  little  thing  con- 
soles and  helps  them. 

'  Come,'  she  cor  tinubd,  '  speak,  tell  me  why  you  have  come,  be- 
cause if  you  have  come  to-day  rather  than  yesterday  or  to-morrow, 
it  is  because  you  have  something  to  tell  me. ' 

The  faithful  servant  was  hesitating. 

*  Mistress,'  he  said,  *  has  always  been  good  to  Maltar,  good  as  the 
heavens  which  give  him  light,  as  the  earth  which  gives  him  rest, 
and  as  the  grain  which  gives  him  food,  and  Maltar  is  not  ungrate- 
ful. He  knows  that  his  mistress  is  unhappy,  and  he  does  not  be- 
lieve that  she  deserves  to  be.' 

He  stopped  a  moment,  as  if  expecting  an  answer,  bnt  Laura  re- 
mained silent.     Then  he  continued  : 

*  Maltar  has  not  come  until  now  because  he  had  hopes  ;  he  knew 
that  master  was  unhappy  also,  and  that,  tired  of  this  cruel  torture, 
master  and  mistress  would  meet  some  day,  when  an  explanation 
would  easily  take  place,  especially  when  young  Mistress  Paulette 
will  be  here.' 

'  My  daughter  ! '  cried  Laura.  '  Did  you  learn  anything  t  Do  you 
know  when  she  will  return  ? ' 

'No,'  answered  the  Indian,  shaking  his  head,  'Maltar  knows 
nothing.     He  had  hopes,  that's  all.     Only ' 

*  Only  ? ' 

'  Well,  there  are  events  preparing,  and  mistress  must  not  wait 
any  longer  if  she  wishes  to  say * 

'  What  do  you  wish  me  to  say  ? '  replied  the  unhappy  woman. 
'  You  know  very  well  I  have  confessed.' 

'  Yes,  Maltar  knows.     But  Maltar  does  not  believe.' 

The  good  fellow  looked  at  Laura  full  in  the  face  in  speaking 
thus. 

'  I  have  told  the  truth,  she  said. '  '  Do  not  insist  any  more.  Your 
devotion  and  your  love  for  me  make  you  doubt  my  words.  You  are 
wrong.     Tell  me  only  the  events  you  allude  to.' 

'  Mistress,'  asked  the  Indian,  '  if  the  master  were  sick,  if  he  were 
at  the  point 'of  death — it  is  only  a  supposition — would  not  mistress 
go  and  see  him  ?  Would  she  not  speak  in  his  ear  for  a  moment, 
and  would  not  she  reveal  some  secret  which  she  has  not  revealed 
and  which  she  refuses  to  tell  to-day  ? ' 

'  What  can  I  tell  you  ] '  asked  Laura,  with  sorrow.   *  Once  more, 
I  have  told  the  truth.' 

Maltar  shook  his  head.  The  good  Indian  had  some  secret  intui- 
tion, which  attested,  in  his  mind,  the  innocence  of  his  old  mistress. 
He  continued  in  his  generous  stubbornness  : 


A   MARTYR.  115 

'  And  if  tho  miuiter  woro  on  tho  evo  of  doing,  through  madnoss 
or  Borrow,  something  which  would  ho  worso  than  death  for  him, 
would  not  mistress  try  to  prevent  liim  from  rushing  to  destruc- 
tion ? ' 

'  But  what  is  the  terrible  project  which  brings  you  here,  and 
which  threatens  him  ?  '  asked  Laura,  with  anguish. 

*  The  master  loves  another  woman,'  slowly  answered  Maltar,  'or 
rather  thinks  ho  loves  her,  and  he  is  going  to  marry  her.  * 

*  Marry  her  !'  cried  Laura,  distiacted.    '  Ah  !  it  is  impossible  ! 
That,  believing  himself  deceived,  M  de  Moray  had  re{)udiatod  the 

guilty  wife,  it  was  his  legitimate  right,  and  Laura  had  felt  a  mortal 
sorrow.  But  she  had  the  supreme  consolation  to  believe,  in  her 
madness,  that  the  man  who  had  repulsed  her  from  his  heart  and  his 
house  was  sutTering  also.  And  she  imagined  that,  thanks  to  this 
communion  of  sorrow,  some  mysterious  tie  would  continue  to  bind 
them  together.  But,  alas  !  the  announcement  of  his  marriage  de- 
stroyed her  last  illusion. 

*  No  !  No  I  it  is  impossible,'  she  was  repeating,  hoping  that 
Maltar  would  tell  her  that  he  had  been  playing  with  her  credulity. 

But  the  gloomy  silence  of  the  Indian  made  her  understand  that 
ho  had  told  her  the  truth.  Then  she  wanted  to  know  who  it  was  that 
Roger  was  to  marry,  undoubtedly  to  escape  from  his  solitude.  She 
p  issed  in  rapid  review  all  the  women  of  their  relations,  and  could 
not  see  her  among  them.  Suddenly  she  had  an  inspiration,  and  she 
felt  sure  she  was  not  mistaken. 

'  She  ! '  she  cried  in  a  shriek  more  painful  than  the  first.  '  It  is 
she,  is  it  not  ?     Oh !  the  wretches  !  the  wretches  ! ' 

*  Yes,'  answered  Maltar,  who  understood  very  well  that  she  was 
alluding  to  the  Duchess  de  San  Lucca.     *  It  is  she.' 

A  spasm  of  anger  rushed  to  the  brain  of  the  unhappy  woman,  and 
forgetting  the  fault  she  believed  herself  to  be  guilty  of,  the  martyr 
became  a  rebel. 

'  Ah  ! '  she  cried  with  indignation,  *  it  is  low  ;  it  is  villainous  ;  it 
isinfariousi  and  still  I  should  have  expected  this  humiliation  ;  I 
have  condemned  myself.  I  have  stupidly  sharpened  the  knife  which 
cuts  my  heart  !  They  were  loving  each  other,  and  I  saw  it,  [ 
guessed  it  ;  I  told  myself  that  it  was  not  so  !  I  accused  myself  for 
the  suspicions  ! 

'  Mistress  ! '  muttered  the  Indian,  trying  to  calm  the  fever  of  her 
anger. 

'  Why  don't  you  say  that  I  am  lying?'  cried  Laura,  tearing  her 
hair,  with  despair.  *  You  know  as  well  as  I  do  the  guilty  passion 
which  attracted  them  towards  each  other,  like  an  irresistible  mag- 
net !  Perhaps  you  know  more  than  I  do !  Ah  !  It  is  not  then  only 
in  the  future,  nor  in  the  present,  that  I  lose  the  love  of  Roger  !  it 
is  also  in  the  past  !     Now  I  understand  why  he  was  so  quick  to 


IK;  A    MARTYR. 

acoiiie.  It  WM  because  heiiiK  traitor  himself  he  could  not  belive  in 
the  faithfuliioBS  of  his  wife,  tried,  however,  by  seventeen  years  of 
loyal  t(tnd«)rn(>ss  !  I  nnderHtand  also  why  he  wan  so  prompt  in 
killin((  !  the  proud  noblumaii  !  It  waa  because  room  had  to  be  made 
for  (he  mistress  who  watt  waiting  !  And  if  I  was  not  killed  instead 
of  my  nccomplice,  it  wan  bo<;auso  the  paramour  would  have  hesi- 
tated, perlifips,  to  occupy  the  bed  stained  with  blood  by  the  murder 
of  the  first  wife  !  Ah  !  no  1  it  is  too  much  !  too  much  !  ' 

And  she  walked  furiously  around  the  room, 

'  Mistress,'  ho  tried  a  last  time,  '  if,  however,  you  did  not  tell  the 
truth  when  you  accused  yourself,  the  master  would  repent  and  he 
would  not  marry  her  ! her  ! ' 

Her  fury  fell  suddenly  at  these  words.  After  tremblinc;  and  hesi- 
tating for  a  seconil,  Laura  reirained  her  usual  coolness,  and  remem- 
berin*,'  suddenly  her  imaginary  fault;  'It  is  justice!'  she  cried. 
And  she  fell,  stunned. 

We  will  now  tell  the  readers  what  has  happened  and  ^ive  them 
details  which  Maltar  has  not  made  known  to  Laura.  VVhile  the 
woman  he  had  repudiated  was  hidini^  her  shame  and  sorrow  in  a  mi- 
serable lodging.  M.  de  Moray  continued  to  live  in  the  house  on  de 
Varonnes  street  :  but  ho  was  not  alone  in  the  old  family  mansion. 
The  Duchi'83  de  San  Lucca  and  her  brother  still  occupied  the  first 
story.  Since  the  nnirdi-r  of  the  supposed  lover  of  the  countess,  and 
during'  the  divorce  suit,  the  r6le.  of  the  two  adventurers  had  been 
neceas'irily  thrown  into  the  shade.  At  first,  the  old  house  wore  a 
mournful  look.  All  motion  had  been  suddenly  stopped.  Annibal 
was  very  much  affected  by  the  funeral  aspect  of  the  great  house, 
and  he  advised  his  sister  to  move  out. 

*  Let  us  go,'  l>e  said  to  his  sister.  '  Let  us  go  at  once.  Since  there 
has  been  a  man  killed  in  this  house,  it  seems  to  me  that  one  can 
feel  death.  Upon  my  word  !  I  always  have  a  mind  to  take  my  hat 
off  when  I  enter.' 

He  was  much  embarrassed  in  saying  these  words.  The  duchess 
noticed  it  and  asked  liini  what  the  matter  was, 

'  Well  !  little  sister,'  he  said,  scratching  his  ear  with  a  familiar 
gesture.  '  I  ciuinot  help  having  remorse,  whatever  I  may  do,  about 
the  poor  devil  the  count  has  murdered.  One  thing  is  certain,  if  I 
had  not  said  a  word,  the  unhappy  fellow  would  still  be  living,  and 
undoubtedly  very  happily,  with  the  money  of  Mme.  de  Moray.' 

'  Yoti  pity  him  ! '  answered  Gorgon,  shrugging  her  shoulders. 

*  Certainly  !  1  put  myself  in  his  place,  and  1  declare  that  1  would 
have  hated,  on  the  point  of  dying,  the  indiscreet  ones  whose  prattle 
had  been  the  cause  of  my  mishap.  After  all  he  did  nothing  to  us  ; 
we  had  no  motive  of  hatred  against  him.' 

*  Eh  ! '  said  Gorgon,  carelessly,  '  have  the  soldiers  who  kill  each 
in  battle  motives  of  hatred  ?  life  is  an  every  day  struggle  and  takes 
a  thousand  forms.    Va  victis  !  and  the  spoils  to  the  victors  ! ' 


A    \fAHTYR.  117 

'  Victors  !  victors  !  '  said  th«)  Neapolitan,  '  I  do  not  sue  what  we 
have  gainud  so  far.  I  should  l)e  inclino«l  to  think  we  are  going  back- 
wards.   We  don't  sue  a  living  thing  in  the  honse.' 

'  Wait  another  week  only,' said  <iorgon,  'and  yon  will  see.  I 
gnarantoe  that  my  drawing-room  will  not  ho  deserted. ' 

The  adventureuB  was  not  miataken.  After  the  tlrst  moment  of 
public  stupor,  a  great  curiosity  attracted  a  cr«)wd  to  the  house. 
People  who  hardly  knew  the  Duchess  de  San  Lucca,  and  who  had 
been  the  most  bitter  opponents  of  her  introduction  into  their  exclu- 
sive society,  were  the  first  to  come  and  see  her.  Every  one  knew 
the  friendship  and  intimacy  which  existed  between  the  duchess  and 
the  family  of  M.  de  Moray,  and  through  her,  they  hoped  to  learn 
exact  news,  untold  details  concerning  the  drama  which  occupied  the 
whole  of  Paris.  To  tell  the  truth,  (jor^on  found  herself  in  a  deli- 
cate situaticm,  but  she  came  out  of  it  with  honor.  The  public 
expressed  an  equal  atlection  for  the  two  heroes  of  the  sinister  ad- 
venture. But  with  the  most  hypocritical  ability,  she  succeeded, 
without  making  her  ed'ort  apparent  to  divert  all  sympathy  which 
might  have  excused  Mme.  de  Moray.  Without  saying  anything 
against  Laura,  she  praised  with  such  an  accent  of  sincerity  the 
devotedness  and  the  love  of  Roger  for  his  wife  that  very  Hoon  the 
count  was  regarded  as  a  hero  and  a  martyr  to  conjugal  faithfulness. 
She  did  not  display  less  astuteness  and  judgement  in  the  relationn 
she  was  to  have  with  M.  de  Moray  after  his  divorce.  The  reader 
may  judge  from  what  will  follow. 

The  very  next  day  after  Laura  had  left  his  house,  M.  de  Moray 
had  asked  the  favor  of  a  moment's  conversation  with  Mme.  de  San 
Lucca.  The  Count  had  acted  and  spoken  like  a  man  who  obeys 
some  unknown  magnetic  power.  He  resembled,  in  the  disorder  of 
his  recovered  liberty,  a  lost  child  who  is  frightened.  He  had 
knocked  at  a  door  which  ho  thought  a  friendly  hand  would  open. 
His  heart  was  desivous  of  efFusiou,  of  cimfidence.  Now  that  no 
ties  united  him  to  another  woman,  he  was  sure  he  would  enter  with 
the  duchess  into  an  intimacy  of  life  which  would  till  the  emptiness 
of  his  ruined  affections.  From  the  very  first  words,  he  understood 
that  the  upsetting  of  his  existence  had  modified  the  dispositions 
of  the  duchess.  He  expressed  his  disappointment  in  very  bitter 
terms. 

'  Am  [  not  unhappy  enough  ? '  he  asked.  *  Why  don't  you  con- 
sent to  come  to  my  help  /  In  exchange  for  all  the  fulness  of 
my  heart,  why  don't  you  offer  me  the  treasures  which  yours  con- 
tains ?  And  still  1  remember  the  time  when,  although  I  was  not 
free,  you  offered  me  unconditionally  the  joys  of  love  which  1  had  no 
right  to  hope  for  or  to  accept.  And  now  that  we  are  both  the  mas- 
ters of  our  destinies,  when  we  can  listen  to  the  voice  of  our  passion, 
you  seem  to  have  suddenly  become  of  ice  !     What  has  happened  i 


118  A   MAUTVR. 

Why  are  you  so  cold  ?     Have  1  offended  you  unknowingly  ? ' 
The  duchess  made  a  negative  sign. 

*  No,'  she  said,  'you  have  not  offended  me  yet,  but  you  would 
so  )U  do  so  if  you  should  continue  to  speak  as  you  do  at  this  mo- 
ment. In  other  days,  you  say,  I  was  different  from  what  I  seem  to 
be  to-day.  You  are  mistaken.  The  passion  you  recall  always  exists, 
and  it  is  as  powerful  to-day  as  it  was  on  that  eventful  day  when  I 
almost  dragged  myself  at  your  feet,  forgetful  of  my  di-nity  as  a 
woman  ? ' 

On  saying  these  words  a  flash  darted  from  her  eyes,  and  M.  de 
Moray  understood  then  that  the  old  flame  was  still  burning  in  her 
veins.     The  duchess  continued  : 

'  Only  the  terrible  spectacle  of  past  events  has  revealed  to  me 
truths  with  which  I  was  not  sufficiently  acquainted.  There  is 
no  possible  happiness  except  in  the  rigorous  accomplishment  of 
duty.  In  other  days  I  should  have  been  foolish  enough  to  con- 
sent to  become  your  mistress.  I  even  had  the  weakness  to  provoke 
the  avowal  of  your  love.  But  to-day  the  fatal  example  of  her  who 
had  the  happiness  of  being  your  wife ' 

*  Never  mention  her  name  to  me  ! '  cried  M.  de  Moray,  with  vio- 
lence. *  May  the  name  of  that  woman  whom  I  hate  and  despise 
never  resound  in  my  ears  !  May  the  remembrance  of  her  never 
come  to  my  heart !     I  have  nothing  but  disgust  for  her  !  ' 

*  And  it  is  exactly  to  avoid  inspiring  you  with  such  a  sentiment 
for  me,'  said  the  artful  Italian,  '  that  I  would  not  yield,  in  my  turn, 
to  a  passion  which  would  not  be  consecrated  by  legitimate  ties. 
Yes,  i  have  the  presentiment  of  it.  The  day  would  come  when  you 
would  be  astonished  at  yourself  for  giving  so  much  love  to  a  woman 
who  would  deserve  so  little  ! ' 

The  reader  will  easily  guess  what  the  result  of  this  conversation 
would  be.  Placed  between  the  necessity  of  renouncing  an  inti- 
macy in  which  he  had  put  all  his  hopes  of  happiness,  or  making  it 
still  closer  by  a  legitimate  union,  M.  de  Moray  could  not  hesitate. 

In  this  first  interview  a  project  of  marriage  was  formed  and  pro- 
mises exchanged.  However,  the  duchess  did  not  wish  to  appear 
to  yield  too  quickly,  and  she  refused  at  first. 

*  Do  not  ask  any  engagement  from  me  to-day,'  she  said,  '  Do  not 
make  any  yourself.  This  thing  is  so  serious  that  it  must  bo 
weighed  carefully  by  both  of  us,  separately,  in  order  not  to  have 
to  reproach  ourselves  later  with  having  yielded  to  a  fugitive  trans- 
port t)f  passion. ' 

'  Ah  ! '  cried  Roger,  '  it  is  because  you  do  not  love  me  as  much 
as  I  thought,  that  you  can  speak  with  so  much  coolness  ? ' 
'  You  should  say  wisdom  !  ' 

*  No,  it  is  not  wisdom  which  inspires  you  at  this  moment.  True 
wisdom  is  to  be  happy  when  one  can  ami  as  nmch  as  he  can.     Ah  ! 


A   MARTYR.  119 

I  implore  you  !  Do  not  bargain  so  much  over  that  yes,  on  which 
depend  my  last  chances  of  happiness  !  '  If  you  have  loved  me,  if 
you  love  me  still,  accept  now  and  promise  to  become  my  wife  !  ' 

'You  wish  it  earnestly  ?'  asked  Gorgon,  intoxicated  with  joy  at 
her  triumph,  but  seeming  to  struggle  with  herself. 

'  I  beg  on  bended  knees  ! '  cried  Roger,  falling  at  the  feet  of  the 
duchess,  who  for  an  answer  made  him  rise  and  leaned  her  head 
against  his  breast. 

M.  de  Moray  was  in  good  faith  in  attesting  his  love.  But  he  ex- 
perienced another  feeling  which  he  did  not  exactly  understand.  It 
was  the  unconscious  desire  to  do  everything  he  could  to  tear  from 
his  heart  the  last  spark  of  tenderness  he  had  for  his  imworthy  com- 
panion of  BO  many  years.  The  sooner  he  would  be  married  again, 
the  sooner  he  would  forget  the  wretch  who  was  not  satisfied  with 
his  powerful  and  loyal  affection.  And  he  was  not  only  seeking  for- 
getfulness,  he  also  cherished  a  desire  for  revenge.  He  felt  an  ardent 
longing  to  see  another  woman  bear  his  name  ;  it  would  be  a  supreme 
revenge  which  would  reach  Laura  in  her  solitude. 

*  She  will  see,'  he  thought,  '  that  I  can  do  without  her,  and  that 
I  can  love  others  !  she  will  see  that  if  I  have  killed  her  lover,  it 
was  not  through  a  stupid  jealousy,  but  to  revenge  my  outraged 
honor ! ' 

Gorgon  understood  all  this  ;  but  what  did  she  care  now  ?  She 
had  attained  the  end  for  which  she  had  worked  for  the  last  six 
months.  She  would  soon  belong  to  Roger  and  possess  him  at  the 
same  time  ;  and  this  possession  would  be  more  complete  than  she 
had  ever  hoped  for,  since  it  was  not  only  a  lover,  but  a  husband 
she  was  to  have. 

Three  weeks  after,  Gorgon  became  Countess  de  Moray. 


II. 

Under  the  influence  of  the  new  countess,  the  aristocratic  man- 
sion had  changed  its  tone  of  mourning  to  one  of  joyful  life,  and 
had  almost  become  a  palace.  In  the  house  pleasure  reigned  from 
morning  until  night,  and  very  often  from  night  until  morning. 
This  atmosphere  of  luxury  was  not  new  to  M.  de  Moray,  with 
whom  it  was  an  every  day  occurrence  when  he  was  governor  of  In- 
dia. His  large  fortune  also  allowed  him  to  surround  Claudia  with 
all  that  could  flatter  her  pride,  and  she  used  it  largely.  By  these 
means  she  had  succeeded  in  entering* the  high  world,  and  had  taken  a 
firm  hold  of  the  high  society,  which  was  the  aim  of  her  life  and  the 
height  of  her  ambition. 


120  A    MARTYR. 

One  (lay,  in  March,  the  gay  society  which  frecjuented  the  man- 
aion  had  projected  an  excursion  to  Auteuil,  when  M.  de  Moray  had 
announced  his  intention  of  remaining  at  home  under  the  pretence 
of  some  important  business  that  had  to  bo  attended  to,  and  he  had 
asked  M.  de  Roc^uevaire  to  take  his  place.  We  are  already  acquainted 
with  this  gentleman,  on  whose  advice  Gorgon  had  gone  to  tho  Cape 
of  Antibes.  After  promising  to  take  M.  de  Moray's  place,  M.  de. 
Ro(juovairo  drew  near  the  mistress  of  the  hor.se. 

'  1  must  tender  you  my  sincere  complimeucs,'  he  said. 

'  Why  I ' 

'  The  morning  papers  speak  of  nothing  but  your  success  at  the 
ball  of  the  British  Embassy,  given  on  the  occasion  of  the  short  so- 
journ  of  the  Prince  of  Wales  in  Paris.' 

'  It  was  a  brilliant  affair.' 

*  And  the  i>rince  was  very  amiable,  they  say.' 

*  In  fact,  his  Royal  Highness  has  even  been  so  kind  as  to  ask  me 
if  ho  would  meet  me  at  the  races  to-day.' 

M.  do  Moray  having  heard  these  last  words,  she  asked  him,  not 
without  satisfied  vanity  : 

*  What  do  you  say,  Roger  1     Do  I  sustain  your  honor  ( ' 

'  Certainly,'  said  the  count,  gallantly  kissing  the  hand  of  his  wife. 
'  Who  has  ever  obtained  as  great  a  success  as  you  ]  Every  day  you 
are  the  queen  of  some  fete  or  other.  You  bear  in  triumph  the 
splendor  of  your  strange  and  marvellous  beauty  !  Oh  !  yes,  I  am 
proud  of  you,  Claudia,  very  proud  !  ' 

'  And  very  happy  also,  I  hope  ? '  answered  the  young  wife  with  a 
gay  smile. 

*  You  ask  if  I  am  very  happy  ?  Certainly,  I  am  ! '  he  said,  al- 
though the  ([uestinn  produced  an  tmeasy  feeling  that  he  could  not 
define.  '  What  more  could  I  ask  ?  I  have  a  beautiful  wife,  a  con- 
siderable fortune,  and  friends  faithful  and  devoted  ! ' 

After  their  departure,  M.  de  Moray,  instead  of  attending  to  his 
business,  fell  to  thinking. 

*  Happy  ! '  he  said  to  himself.  *  Yes,  they  are  right  !  I  am  per- 
fectly happy  !  I  am  the  happiest  of  men  !  And  why  should  not  I 
be  ?  Is  there,  in  tho  midst  of  this  whirlwind  of  pleasures,  any  room 
left  for  regret  I     Is  there  even  room  for  memories  ? ' 

He  rose  suddenly  and  commenced  to  walk  about  the  room,  pass- 
ing his  h'\nds  through  his  hair,  which  were  becoming  grey. 

'  And  what  should  I  remember,  after  all  ? '  he  continued.  *  What 
and  whom,  chiefly  ]  Her  who  has  odiously  betrayed  me  ?  It  would 
be  sheer  madness  !  And  when  I  think  she  has  not  had  even  one 
hour's  repentance  !  With  what  pride  she  avowed  herself  guilty  ! 
But  I  took  the  means  of  breaking  her  insolent  pride  1  How  she 
must  have  siift'ered  when  she  heard  of  ray  marriage  !  And  my 
ohoice  must  have  caused  her  more  despair  than  any  other  !     Ah  !  I 


A   MARTYR.  121 

hope  she  hag  suffered,  so  as  to  make  my  revenge  more  complete  1 
And  to  suffer,  she  has  only  to  remember  the  happiness  of  the  past  ! 

Whilst  I  ! Well,  what,  I  !    I  remember  also  !     But  it  id  to  hate 

the  wretched  woman  still  more,  and  to  curse  hor  !  ' 

M.  de  Moray  had  just  then  a  feeling  of  involuntary  sincerity,  and 
he  cried  out  in  a  suddeu  burst  of  despair  : 

*  But  why  is  it  that,  in  spite  of  her  treachery  and  her  infamy,  my 
thoughts  will  turn  towards  her  ?  Why  do  I  run  away  from  all  the 
pleasures  awaiting  me,  and  why  do  I  remain  alone  to  think  more 
freely  of  the  cruel  absent  one  ?  Ah  !  it  is  because,  though  I  have 
driven  her  away  from  my  house,  I  cannot  throw  her  out  of  my 
heart  !  ' 

And  he  fell  exhausted  in  a  chair.  At  this  moment  Maltar 
entered,  and  the  count  raised  his  head  at  the  noise.  The  Indian 
was  before  him,  in  his  usual  humble  attitude.  However.  M.  de 
Moray  noticed  on  his  face  an  air  of  embarrassment  which  made  him 
understand  that  his  strange  servant  did  not  come  only  for  the  wants 
of  his  service. 

*  You  have  something  to  tell  me  i '  he  said  suddenly. 
Maltar  bowed  still  lower. 

'Well,  speak!     What  is  it  ? ' 

*  The  master  will  excuse  me,'  answered  Maltar  in  his  sweet  voice. 
'  I  have  to  tell  him  that  I  am  going  to  quit  his  house' 

'  Quit  my  house  !  cried  the  count,  stup  jtied.      '  Are  you  m^id  ? ' 

'  No,  master,  not  yet,'  said  the  [ndi m  artlessly  ;  '  but  [  should 
soon  become  mad  if  I  njmained.     That's  why  I  prefer  going  away.' 

'  Ah  !  your  answer  is  beyond  joking  and  you  will  explain        ■' 

'  No.     I  beg  master  to  ask  nothing.' 

'  On  the  contrary,  [  want  you  to  speak.  You  have  belonged  to 
me  for  five  years,  and  I  hope  you  have  not  forgotten  the  circum- 
stances under  which  I  befriended  you,  for  you  hid  endured  enough 
misery  to  remember.  I  have  taken  you  into  my  service  with  con- 
fidence, I  can  say  even  with  friendship. ' 

*  Yes,     The  master  has  always  been  good  to  his  unworthy  slave.' 
'  Lastly,  you  have  been  judged  worthy  to  accompany  me  here,  to 

receive  the  same  benefits  and  render   the  -same   services,  and  in 
spite  of  all  that,  you  want  to  leave  me.     Would  yon  do  like  most 
servants  in  this  country  ?     Are  you  enticed  away  by  some  maniac 
attracted  by  your  queer  costume  and  your  strange  features  ? ' 
'  Oh  !  master  ! '  protested  the  Indian  with  an  accent  of  sadness. 

*  Then  if  it  is  not  so,  once  more,  explain  yourself,  speak,  you 
must,' 

'  If  I  must,'  said  the  Indian,  *  I  will  obey.  Since  certain  events 
have  happened  in  this  house,  all  tha  old  servants  huve  been  re- 
placed by  others.  It  is  not  fair  that  there  should  be  an  exception 
in  my  favor.' 

H 


122  A  MARTYR. 

*  Oh  ! '  said  the  count  suddenly  saddened  by  the  memory  evoked 
by  the  Indian  of  what  he  called,  "certain  events."  '  You  pretend 
that  is  the  reason.  Then  you  are  more  in  the  wrong  than  I  sup- 
posed. It  is  exactly  because  you  belonged  to  the  old  house,  as  you 
say,  that  1  wcnild  regret  a  great  deal  to  see  you  go  away.  Your  de- 
parture would  not  be  an  ordinary  departure,  like  all  the  others  ; 
it  would  be  almost  an  abandonment.' 

At  this  last  word  Maltar  raised  his  head  which  he  had  kept  bowed 
down  until  then.  He  had  just  taken  the  resolution  to  tell  the 
truth,  for,  it  can  be  presumed  that  the  reason  ho  had  given  was  «.nly 
a  pretence. 

'  The  master  speaks  of  abandonment,'  he  said.  '  Well,  if  I  want 
to  leave  you,  it  is  to  give  my  services  to  another  person  who  is  truly 
abandoned.' 

*  Whom  do  you  speak  of  V  haughtily  asked  the  count,  who  un- 
derstood very  well. 

*  I  speak  of  Mme.  de  Moray.' 

*  Ah !  you  don't  know  whereof  you  speak,  then,  for  Mme.  de 
Moray  inhabits  this  house,  whore  she  is  the  sovereign  mistress,  even 
before  me.' 

'  She  is  not  the  one  I  speak  of,  master,  and  you  know  it  well.' 

*  There  is  none  other,  however.  Only  one  woman  in  the  wurld  l.as 
a  right  to  bear  that  name.' 

'  She  who  bore  it  so  long  was  good  to  me,  almost  as  much  as  y(.u 
have  been  yourself.  So,  whatever  name  she  bears  to-day,  it  is  her 
I  will  serve,  since  she  is  unhappy.' 

'  Ah  ! '  said  the  count,  *  it  is  a  singular  freak  to  devote  yourself  to 
the  one  who  has  committed  the  fau)*"  and  who  lives  in  shame.' 

'  Master  ! '  retorted  Maltar  with  firmness,  '  I  do  not  believe  that 
Mme.  Laura  h.'is  committed  any  fault,  and  1  believe  that  the  shame 
she  lives  in  is  not  deserved.' 

M.  de  Moray  was  startled. 

*  Yon  are  mad  ! '  he  cried.  '  You  were  there,  however,  when  all 
that  happened ;  you  were  a  witness  to  my  anger,  to  my  revenge!' 

'  Yes,  master.  But  I  do  not  believe  what  you  have  believed.  I 
do  not  believe  what  I  have  seen  ! ' 

*  You  were  also  at  the  trial.  You  heard  the  avowal  she  made  to 
the  judge  and  to  the  jurors.  Your  ears,  like  mine,  heard  the  echo 
of  her  words  when  she  was  saying  :  The  man  killed  by  M.  de  Moray 
was  my  lover  ! ' 

'  I  heard  and  I  remember.  But  I  do  not  believe  what  I  heard  and 
what  I  renjember.  Let  the  master  remember  also.  There  was  in 
Mme.  Laura's  voice  a  strange  accent  which  I  had  never  heard  be- 
fore that  day.  There  was  in  her  eyes  the  wandering  of  madness. 
And  this  terrible  sound  of  her  voice,  this  wandering  of  her  eyes,  I 
have  found  them  again   nearly  two  months  ago  when  I  told  her 


A   MARTYR.  123 

vrhom  I  always  consider  as  my  mistress  that  you  were  going  to 
marry  another  woman.' 

'  Ah  !  you  have  seen  her,  then  ?  *  asked  the  count,  with  avidity. 
'You  did  not  tell  me!' 

*  It  was  of  no  use.  At  that  time  you  would  not  have  listened  to 
me,  even  less  than  to-day.' 

'  And  why  did  you  bring  her  the  news  of  my  marriage  ?' 
'  To  prevent  her  learning  it  by  chance,  from  wicked  or  only  in- 
different persons,'  said  Maltar,  with  the  dignity  which  every  noble 
sentiment  gives  to  the  one  who  utters  it.  '  Well,  the  news  of  your 
marriage  has  finished  the  work  which  her  sufferings  had  commenced. 
For  many  weeks,  and  until  the  last  few  days,  Mme.  Laura  has  been 
in  peril  of  her  life.  As  long  as  the  danger  lasted,  I  passed  several 
hours  each  day,  each  night  1  should  say,  by  the  side  of  my  dear 
mistress,  nursing  her  while  her  only  servant  took  a  little  rest.  If 
she  had  died,  I  would  have  said  nothing  and  I  should  have  remain- 
ed here  to  consecrate  myself  to  the  master,  and  perhaps  to  console 
him  later  on.  But  now  Mme.  Laura  is  saved.  She  tries  to  cling  to 
life  for  the  sake  of  her  daughter.  Just  think,  master  !  I  am  the 
only  being  to  whom  she  can  speak  of  her  daughter,  since  she  is 
separated  now  from  all  those  who  loved  the  child  with  her  ;  since  she 
has  no  husband,  since  her  father  and  mother  themselves  have  driven 
her  away ! ' 

The  voice  of  the  poor  Indian  broke  in  a  pitiful  sob.  Big  tears 
rolled  down  his  cheeks.  M.  de  Moray  had  to  make  a  strong  eflfort 
not  to  be  carried  away  by  the  force  of  this  emotion. 

*  Well,  Maltar! '  he  said  with  more  softness  than  he  had  exhibited 
since  the  beginning  of  the  interview,  *  it  is  in  the  very  name  of  Pau- 
lette,  in  the  name  of  my  daughter,  that  I  oppose  myself  to  your  de- 
parture. ' 

*  In  the  name  of  Miss  Paulette?'  asked  the  Indian,  who  did  not 
understand. 

*  Yes,  my  daughter  will  land  shortly  at  Marseilles.  I  was  expect- 
ing the  arrival  of  the  steamer  to-day  ;  but  since  I  have  not  received 
any  despatch  it  is  because  the  steamer  has  been  delayed  for  a  few 
days.' 

*  The  young  mistress  is  coming  ? '  repeated  the  Indian,  troubled 
by  this  unexpected  news. 

*  She  will  be  here  in  two  or  three  days  at  the  latest.  The  last 
letter  of  A  nut  Basilique  announced  their  departure  by  the  follow- 
ing steamer.  This  abode,  where  my  daughter  has  lived  a  few  years 
of  her  childhood  with  her  mother,  will  appear  very  empty  to  her.  I 
will  be  the  only  one  she  will  find  of  all  those  she  has  loved  I ' 

'  The  young  mistress  will  return  ! '  repeated  the  Indian.  '  Oh  1 
the  poor  child ! ' 


124  A   MARTYR. 

'The  poor  child  I  you  are  right  in  speaking  thus.  Au  orphan 
would  be  less  tu  be  pitied  than  she.  Hov^  she  must  suffer  now,  for 
Aunt  Basilique  has  probably  told  her  all.' 

*  What  ?     Miss  Paulette  did  not  know  i ' 

'  No.  Although  strong  enough  to  undertake  the  voyage,  she  was 
yet  too  weak  to  hear  this  cruel  truth.  She  must  have  learnt  it  only 
after  landing,  in  time  to  prevent  her  entering  into  this  house  with 
a  hope  of  seeing  her  mother  which  would  be  too  suddenly  deceived. 
It  is  only  then  that  my  sister  must  have  told  Paulette  what  it  is 
necessary  that  she  should  know,  and  only  to  the  extent  which  her 
chaste  ignorance  could  make  her  understand! ' 

'  It  is  only  yesterday,  perhaps  only  to- day,  you  say,  master,  that 
Miss  Paulette  knows  that,  on  arriving  here,  she  will  tind  her  moth- 
er's place  ompty!  What  am  I  saying  ?  She  knows,  or  she  is  going 
to  know  th;it  this  place  is  already  occupied  by  another.  Oh!  master! 
master!  Wliat  a  terrible  meeting  that  will  be  between  your  daughter 
and ' 

The  Indian  did  not  dare  to  finish.  After  all,  the  new  countess 
was  the  wife  of  his  master,  and  she  had  a  right  to  his  respect. 

'  Yes,  very  terrible!  in  truth! '  said  the  count  sadly.  '  And  it  is 
to  render  the  first  hours  of  her  return  less  cruel  ;  it  is  to  slowly  con- 
sole the  poor  orphan  child  that  I  depend  upon  your  help,  Maltar. 
It  is  to  watch  over  her,  to  weep  with  her  also,  that  1  struggle 
against  your  departure.  But  since  you  want  to  leave  me,  since  you 
wish  to  abandon  my  child,  go,  Maltar,  go !    I  do  not  retain  you ! ' 

'No,  master!'  said  the  Indian  with  emotion.  'Now  I  will  re- 
main ' ' 

M.  de  Moray  gave  his  hand  to  the  faithful  servant  who  bowed 
and  kissed  it,  weeping  bitterly. 

The  reader  remembers  that  Gorgon  had  sworn  to  grant  the  tirst 
request  her  brother  would  formulate  in  exchange  for  the  informa- 
tion he  had  given,  and  which  led  to  the  divorce  and  to  her  subse- 
(juent  marriage.  Annibal  did  not  exactly  know  then  what  he  would 
ask,  but  he  had  an  idea,  vague  and  indefinite,  it  is  true,  but  which 
had  eventually  become  a  firm  desire;  and  he  held  on  to  his  deter- 
mination with  tenacity.  He  had  not  said  anything  to  his  sister  about 
it  yet.     On  the  day  after  the  races  at  Auteuil  he  called  on  the  count. 

'  I  have  very  bad  news  to  give  you  about  the  Rio  Negro  gold 
mine  ;  as  you  are  one  of  the  directors,  it  will  be  a  very  serious  mat- 
ter. You  have  been  the  victim  of  knaves.  The  principal  share- 
holders have  acquired  the  proof  that  the  nuggets  which  you  and 
your  co-directors  have  declared  to  have  been  extracted  from  the 
Rio  Negro  mine  were  taken  from  another  mine. 

'  But  it  is  an  infamous  robbery,'  said  the  count. 


A    MARTYK.  125 

'  Parbleu  !  and  what  is  worse,  the  shareholders  declare  that  unless 
they  are  re-imbursed,  they  will  prosecute  the  board  criminally.  (>f 
course  you  are  not  accused  of  having  wronged  any  one  intentionally, 
but  nevertheless  they  will  prosecute  the  proinotera  of  the  enterprise. 
There  are  six  directors  on  the  board,  and  of  that  number  three  are 
filibusters.  I  told  you  to  guard  against  them  at  the  time  you  en- 
gaged yourself  in  that  mine.  So  you  are  not  six  directors,  but  three: 
The  General  de  Saint  Rony,  the  Marquis  de  Sistenay,  and  yourself. 
The  general  and  the  marquis  will  pay  one  million  each,  and  they 
hope  you  will  do  the  same  thing.' 

M.  de  Moray  wiped  his  forehead,  on  which  could  be  seen  drops  of 
cold  perspiration. 

'Those  gentlemen  have  done  well  to  depend  on  me,'  he  said. 
'  But  it  is  very  happy  that  the  amount  is  not  larger,  because  I  would 
have  been  unable  to  pay  it.' 

*  I  tell  you  honestly,'  rejoined  Annibal,  trying  to  hi<le  hia  dis- 
appointment, *  that  what  you  are  telling  me  gives  me  great  ploa- 
suro.  Although  I  do  not  know  the  extent  of  your  wealth,  1  was 
afraid  that  your  fortune  would  not  allow  you  to  face  such  a  great 
loss.' 

'  1  have  been  very  lucky  in  some  enterprises  I  launched  in  in 
India.  When  I  liquidated  my  liability  at  the  time  of  the  dissolu- 
tion of  my  marriage,  our  settlement  of  accounts  amounted  to  two 
millions.  The  mansion  we  are  now  in  was  estimated  at  four  hun- 
dred thousand  francs,  so  that  there  remained  one  million  six  hun- 
dred thousand  francs  in  cash.  I  remitted  at  that  time  eight 
hundred  thousand  francs  in  French  valuns  to  the  first  Mme.  de 
Moray's  notary.  The  surplus,  that  is  to  say  the  eight  hundred 
thousand  francs  which  constitute  my  portion,  and  which  were  the 
product  of  the  sale  of  our  properties  in  India,  have  remained  in  the 
Indo-Marseillaise  bank,  which  has  a  branch  in  Pondichery.  So  that, 
in  two  weeks  at  the  latest,  these  funds  will  be  at  my  disposition. 
I  would  easily  console  myself  at  that  loss  if  the  dowry  of  my  daugh- 
ter was  not  swallowed  up  with  my  fortune.' 

'It  only  depends  on  you,  my  dear  Roger,'  said  Annibal,  'to 
assure  to  Miss  Paulette  a  larger  fortune  than  the  one  you  so  nobly 
sacrifice.' 

'  What  do  you  mean  ? ' 

'The  simplest  thing  in  the  world.  Remember,  my  dear  count, 
that  when  you  solicited  my  assent  to  the  marriage  of  my  sister  with 
you,  although  she  was  perfectly  free,  by  right  of  widowhood,  you 
would  not  hear  of  her  oringinj?  a  dowry.' 

'  It  could  not  be  otherwise,'  said  M.  de  Moray.  'The  painful 
circumstances  under  which  1  recovered  my  liberty, and  which  allowed 
me  to  marry  your  sister,  imposed  upon  me  an  exceptional  reserve 


120  A   MARTYR. 

in  money  matters.     I  could  not,  withoiit  dishonor,  bo  suspected  of 
making  a  bargain  in  marrying  a  wealthy  woman. ' 

*  Very  well  !  Let  nio,  in  my  turn,  I  pray  you,  <lo  what  you  have 
done.  It  is  cquaPy  without  a  dowry  that  1  have  the  honor  to  ask 
you  for  the  hand  of  yoiir  daughter. ' 

Roger  took  a  step  backwards,  altogether  suifocated  by  what  he 
had  just  heard,  and  unable  to  believe  his  ears. 

*  You  ! '  he  said  at  last,  '  you,  the  husband  of  Paulette  !  you  who 
are  the  brother  of ' 

*  As  he  stopped,  Palmeri  continued  : 

'  I,  the  broilier  of  your  now  wife.  That's  what  you  mean,  is  it 
not?  Eh  !  I  am  very  well  aware  of  the  prejudice  which  this  title 
will  create  in  the  mind  of  Miss  Paulette.  But  leave  that  to  my 
sister  and  myself.  Claudia  will  give  her  back,  through  her  affec- 
tion, the  happiness  she  undoubtedly  fears  she  has  lost  in  learning 
that  she  is  to  be  separated  from  her  mother.  As  to  the  rest,  with 
time  and  the  fortune  which  I  am  happy  to  place  this  very  moment 
at  the  feet  of  Mmo.  Palmeri,  1  will  succeed  in  winning  her  love  !  ' 

'  You  ask  me  for  the  hand  of  Paulette,'  said  M.  de  Moray,  'and 
yet  you  don't  know  that  child. ' 

*  Pardon  me,'  said  Annibal,  smiling,  *  I  know  her  and,  if  I  must 
say  so,  f  love  her  !  Oh  !  1  have  never  seen  her  !  it  is  true  ! '  he 
added,  on  noticing  the  astonishment  of  the  count.  *  But  I  have  as 
guarantee  of  her  charms  the  tenderness  which  you  have  for  her, 
the  great  affection  of  all  those  who  have  lived  with  her,  and  the  re- 
spectful devotedness  which  some  of  your  servants  have  for  her  ;  I 
am  speaking  of  Maltar.     As  to  her  beaiity ' 

The  Italian  took  a  photograph  which  was  on  M.  de  Moray's  desk. 

*  As  to  her  beauty,  this  portrait  is  my  answer.  I  have  often 
contemplated  it  unknown  to  you,  and,  upon  my  word,  it  has  in- 
spired me  with  a  sincere  admiration  for  her  whose  image  it  is. 
Once  more,  m  dear  count,  I  love  Miss  Paulette  and  I  ask  you  to 
give  me  her  hand. ' 

'  But  it  is  madness  ! '  said  M,  de  Moray,  who  was  convinced  at 
last  of  the  sincerity  of  his  brother-in-law. 

'  It  is  madness,  perhaps,'  said  Palmeri,  '  but  it  can  be  explained 
very  easily  in  a  man  of  my  character  and  of  my  country.  Come, 
my  dear  count,  it  is  yes,  is  it  not  ] ' 

M.  de  Moray  answered  evasively. 

*  Well,'  he  said,  '  since  you  insist  so  much,  with  a  generosity  for 
which  I  am  very  grateful  under  the  present  circumstances,  I  do  not 
repulse,  deliberately,  the  proposition  you  have  made.  Biit  I  do 
not  accept  ii  either.  Paulette  will  be  here,  as  you  know,  in  a  few 
days.     I  shall  leave  it  to  her  decisiim.' 

*  That's  all  I  ask,'  answered  the  handsome  Italian.  *  You  will 
allow  me  to  plead  my  cause  and  I  am  contjdent  of  success.' 


A    MAHTYK.  '  127 

Tho  two  men  shook  hands  and  separated.  Instead  of  going  to 
}iis  rooms,  Annibal  went  to  tho  apartment  of  his  sister.  On  hear- 
ing of  his  intention,  Claudia  repeated  the  words  of  M.  de  Moray. 

'  It  is  madness  ! '  she  cried. 

*  Did  I  tell  you  it  was  madness  when  you  acquainted  mo  with  the 
passion  you  entertained  for  M.  de  Moray,  and  when  you  told  me 
you  would  willingly  give  millions  to  become  his  wife  i ' 

She  shrugged  her  shoulders. 

'  It  is  not  the  same  thin-/  at  all,'  she  said.  *  I  adored  Roger,  and, 
whatever  you  may  say,  you  cannot  love  a  sixteen-year  old  child 
whom  you  ih  ver  saw.' 

'  I  will  admit  that  I  do  not  love  this  little  girl  in  your  way,  that 
is  to  say  with  fever,  with  rage  ;  but  I  am  very  certain  that  I  will 
love  her  when  she  is  my  wife,  and  tliis  is  sufticient  for  the  time 
being.  You  have  married  M.  de  Moray  through  passion  ;  I  want 
to  marry  Mile,  de  Moray  through  reason.  My  dream  is  to  have 
a  home  very  quiet,  surrounded  by  tho  people  we  know  and  who 
know  us,  and  who  will  have  no  temptation  to  make  an  inquiry  into 
our  past  life,  because,  in  spite  of  our  good  luck  so  far,  I  very  often 
tremble.  Paulotte  is  just  the  thing.  She  must  be  a  timid  young 
girl  who  knows  nothing  of  the  world,  who  has  seen  nothing,  heard 
nothing,  who  loves  nobody,  and  consequently  will  be  very  glad  to 
love  the  first  handsome  fellow  who  will  pay  his  attentions  to  her. 
Add  to  this  a  father  whom  wo  have  got  hold  of,  who  is  your  hus- 
band, who  swears  only  by  you,  and  who,  by  a  happy  accident,  finds 
himself  ruined  at  the  very  moment  it  is  useful  to  us  that  he  should 
require  our  services  to  pay  his  debts.' 

'  So  that  story  of  a  mine  that  you  spoke  about  is  confirmed  ? ' 

'  Nothing  can  be  truer.  Ah  !  if  we  were  not  here,  your  poor  devil 
of  a  husband  would  be  in  a  sad  plight.  And  even  with  our  help,  I 
don't  know  how  he  will  get  out  of  that  scrape. ' 

'  It  is  very  simple,'  said  Claudia.  '  Roger  will  pay.  All  his  for- 
tune will  be  swallowed  up.' 

'  He  will  pay  !  what  with  ? ' 

*  With  the  funds  he  has  in  the  Indo-Marseillaise  bank.' 

*  Well,  he  need  not  depend  on  that,  because  according  to  this 
morning's  despatches,  the  bank  has  failed,  and  will  be  a  total 
wreck.' 

'  In  that  case  Roger  is  ruined,  and  he  will  be  criminally  prose- 
cuted, dishonored  ! ' 

'  Exactly.  Unless  he  resigns  himself  to  the  sweet  necessity  of 
having  recourse  to  the  purse  of  his  son-in-law;  you  must  admit  that 
your  Count  de  Moray  has  been  very  lucky  to  meet  us.' 

And  the  adventurer  bust  out  laughing.  His  sister  sent  him  away 
and  made  ready  for  her  visits. 


128  A  MARTYR. 

About  nn  hour  after  this  con  vernation,  a  young  girl  waa  entering 
on  tiptoe  the  drawiiii^-room  of  the  apartments  of  M.  de  Moray, 
drau'Kitig  by  the  )iand  a  middle-aged  man. 

'  This  way,  Mr.  Drack,'  she  was  saying  to  her  companion  who  re- 
sisted, '  thin  way.    We  are  in  mother's  drawing-room. ' 

It  was  l*aulotto. 


III. 

We  must  now  exphxin  how  it  happens  that  Paulette  arrives  thus 
unexpectedly  in  Paris,  when  her  father  does  not  even  know  that  she 
]ia<)  landed  in  Marseilles  ;  and  how  it  is  that  she  drags  behind  her  a 
character  unknown  to  ua,  whom  she  calls  Mr.  Drack,  and  who  hesi- 
tates to  ontor  a  house  where  he  is  not  expected.  To  give  all  these 
explanations,  we  will  have  to  return  to  India.  The  day  after  the 
scene  of  the  murder,  M.  and  Mme.  de  Moray  had  decided  to  keep 
on  writing  to  their  daughter,  without  giving  even  a  hint  of  the  ter- 
rible drama  which  held  been  enacted.  Aunt  Basiliqiie,  on  the  con- 
trary, was  to  be  informed  of  all  the  particulars,  and  she  would  make 
the  revelation  to  the  child  at  the  moment  she  would  judge  oppf>r- 
tune.  It  had  been  done  as  agreed.  On  the  arrival  of  the  first 
steamer,  all  the  colony  had  heard  of  the  sinister  adventure.  Pau- 
lette alone  knew  nothing.  Aunt  Basilique  and  the  doctor  had 
managed  so  cleverly  that  not  a  word  had  transpired.  The  doctor 
was  afraid  that  the  child,  in  her  state  of  health,  could  not  bear  such 
a  revelation. 

*  When  Paulette  is  in  Paris,'  he  had  said,  '  it  will  be  better.  She 
will  see  her  father  and  mother  ;  she  will  weep  with  both,  each  in 
his  turn,  and  perhaps,  who  knows  ?  her  sweet  influence  will  bring 
those  two  beinji;s  together  again,  because  there  cannot  be  anything 
but  a  misunderstanding  between  them.' 

They  had  not  yet  heard  in  India,  as  can  be  seen  by  these  words, 
of  the  divorce  and  new  marriage  of  the  count.  When  this  news 
arrived  the  doctor  trembled.  It  seamed  very  difficult  to  keep  the 
secret  from  Paulette  now,  and  he  resolved  to  send  her  away  as  soon 
as  possible.  This  decision  had  caused  a  great  sorrow  to  a  certain 
young  man,  with  whom  our  readers  are  already  acquainted.  We 
are  speaking  of  M.  Gaston  de  Yalliferes,  the  lover  of  Paulette.  Even 
before  M.  and  Mme.  de  Moray  had  left  the  colony,  M.  de  Vallieres 
loved  their  daughter.  He  was  waiting  for  her  to  attain  her  six- 
teenth year,  before  declaring  himself.  Under  these  conditions,  M. 
de  Vallieres  felt  a  great  sorrow  in  learning  of  her  earlier  departure. 


A    MAUTYU.  120 

'  Do  not  be  uneasy,  my  dear  Gaston,'  Aunt  Bafiili<iue  had  said  to 
oonsolo  liiru.  '  When  we  will  bo  in  Paris,  I  shall  plead  your  cause 
and  I  will  win  it.' 

So  they  started.  Aunt  Tlaailique  was  perplexed.  The  deep 
affection  she  bore  to  her  brother  made  her  desire  to  see  him  as  soon 
aa  possible,  to  share  his  sorrows.  Hut  the  mnternal  tenderness  nhe 
felt  towards  Paulette  caused  her  to  fear  the  fatal  moment  when  she 
would  have  to  reveal  everythiu<,'  :  the  murder  of  a  man  by  M.  do 
Moray,  the  separation,  and  hnally  the  divorce  of  her  parents,  both 
of  whom  Paulette  loved  equally.  As  the  steamer  was  spyodinji;  on 
its  way,  the  anxiety  of  Aunt  Ba8ili({ue  increased.  The  truth  must 
necessarily  be  told  before  their  arrival  in  Marseilles.  Moreover, 
fthe  was  afraid  that  the  indiscretiini  of  sf»me  passenger  might  reveal 
these  events  too  suddenly  to  the  young  girl  and  cause  a  relapse, 
and  she  took  the  following  means  to  prevent  such  an  occurence. 
She  addressed  herself,  on  the  very  first  day  of  the  voyage,  to  a  pas- 
senger whose  physiognomy  and  social  situation  were  such  as  to  give 
her  confidence.  He  was  an  Englishman,  who  had  been  a  trader  in 
India  for  thirty  years,  and  who  was  going  back  to  his  country  to 
rest  at  his  ease,  he  said,  and  have  no  trouble,  which  would  bo  easy 
for  him,  since  his  fortune  was  made,  and  there  was  not  a  single  liv- 
ing being  in  the  world  in  whom  he  took  any  interest,  except  him- 
self. Sir  Elias  Drack,  that  was  his  name,  was  consular  agent  at 
Calcutta,  of  we  know  not  what  European  power.  This  last  (lualili- 
cation  was  one  of  the  great  reasons  which  had  attracted  M.  do 
Moray's  sister's  attention  to  Mr.  Drack.  Aunt  Baailique  met  him 
squarely  ;  when  she  had  been  presented  to  him  by  the  captain 
she  asked  him  to  come  to  her  aid  in  establishing  a  conspiracy 
of  silence  among  the  passengers.  Mr.  Drack  was  a  regular  char- 
acter, as  we  say  to-day  ;  at  the  first  words  of  Aunt  Basilique,  he  cried 
out  against  her  proposal. 

*  I  return  to  Europe  that  I  may  have  no  more  cares,'  he  said.  '  I 
did  not  marry  so  aa  to  have  neither  wife  nor  children,  that  is  to  say 
no  cause  of  anxiety  or  trouble,  and  you  imagine  that  I  am  going  to 
turn  conspirator! — I,  Elias  Drack,  conspirator!  gieat  heavens! 
for  the  sake  of  a  little  girl  who  is  a  total  stranger  to  me,  whom  I 
saw  this  morning  for  the  first  time!    No,  never!  ' 

After  this  first  resistance  of  egotism,  Mr.  Drack  promised  Aunt 
Basilique  everything  she  aaked  atul  commenced  to  fulfil  his  mission 
on  the  very  same  day.  It  is  well  known  that  we  got  attached  to 
those  to  whom  we  devote  ourselves,  however  little  it  may  be.  Mr. 
Drack  could  not  escape  the  common  law.  So  twenty-four  hours 
after  he  had  received  the  confidence  of  Aunt  Basilique,  he  felt  more 
involuntary  sympathy  for  Paulette  than  ho  had  ever  experienced 
for  anyone  in  his  life.  But  what  was  amusing  in  this  case  is  that 
he  was  angry  at  himself  for   this  weakness   which    he  denied,  and 


130  A    MAHTYK. 

■otnetiiuoH  Iio  ovon  osnumed  Hiirly  airs,  as  if  nflBDrtiii^  thu  iiulupon- 
(lence  of  his  heart.  Only  ho  could  not  deceivo  anyone  for  a  Umn 
time,  and  Aunt  Baailiijue  and  Paulotto  soon  found  out  the  real 
kindnofls  which  vv.'ih  hidden  under  his  rou^h  exterior. 

At  lant  the  land  was  ni^dited.  They  wore  reaching  Marsoillos. 
Wlion  thoy  noarotl  the  coast,  a  torrihlo  accidont  occurred.  A 
hurricane  rose  suddenly,  and  the  niagniticent  steamer  was  to^sud 
like  a  nutshell  on  immense  waves.  There  was  no  danger,  however. 
Nevertheless,  most  of  the  passengers  had  gone  below.  Thoro  ro- 
TUiiined  on  duck  only  a  few  travollors  who  wished  to  witness  tlie 
grand  spectacle  atlorded  \>y  the  storm. 

Since  the  time  thoy  had  hoard  that  they  wore  approaching  Mar- 
seilles, Paulette  had  been  a  prey  to  a  violent  emotion.  Mnrsoillos  ! 
that  is  to  say  her  native  soil,  the  land  wiioro  hor  parents  were  ex- 
pecting her.  Soniethini;  told  her  that  hor  father  and  mother  were 
there,  at  the  very  end  of  the  wharf,  expt)aod  to  the  fury  of  the 
storm,  to  witness  the  entrance  in  port  of  the  steamer  bearing  their 
chilli.  Yes,  certainly,  they  were  there,  huddled  together,  much 
all'ifcted,  getting  ready  to  seok  her  with  their  eyes,  to  make  signs  of 
welcome,  to  send  hor  their  love  in  their  far-ott"  kisses. 

We  have  said  that  the  huricano  had  forced  nearly  all  the  passen- 
gers to  go  down.  As  the  coast  was  not  yet  quite  near,  Paulutto  had 
resigned  herself  to  this  general  measure  of  safety  without  grum- 
bling. But  as  thoy  were  getting  nearer  to  the  land,  as  tho  city  ap- 
peared more  distinctly  through  tho  thick  glasses  of  tho  cabin,  she 
felt  !i  terrible  agitation.  She  asked  her  aunt  permission  to  go  on 
deck.  However  prudent  she  was,  the  good  old  lady  hud  not  tho 
courage  to  oppose  her  will. 

*  We  will  bo  wet  to  the  skin  in  less  than  a  minute,'  she  thought, 
*  but  then  we  will  have  only  to  change  our  clothes.  Moreover,  the 
first  deception  which  Paulette  will  experience  at  not  seeing  her  par- 
ents, as  she  hopes,  will  be  a  sort  of  preparation  for  the  painful  con- 
fidence I  am  obliged  now  to  make.' 

They  were  ready  to  go  on  deck  at  the  moment  the  stean.or  was 
entering  port. 

'  Are  you  coming  with  us,  Mr.  Drack  ? '  asked  Paulette  in  a  joy- 
ful tone. 

The  Englishman  was  reading  the  British  Magazine,  when  she  called 
him.     He  raised  his  head  without  dropping  his  book. 

'  Whore  ? '  he  asked  with  astonishment. 

*  On  deck.  Don't  you  remember  ?  I  told  you  that,  no  matter 
what  sort  of  weather  it  would  be,  I  would  go  on  deck  on  arriving.' 

'  Yes!  yes! '  grumbled  tho  old  consul,  'I  remember  now.  You 
said  that.  But  it  does  not  stand  to  reason,  because  you  have 
said  you  would  do  a  foolish  thing,  that  you  should  do  it  And  it  is 
downright  foolishness  to  go  and  get  drenched  by  the  waves  which 
are  sweeping  the  deck  at  this  moment,' 


A    MARTYR.  VM 

'  Como,  como  !  aunty  haa     .ven  pormisfiion  ;  do  not  be  wicked, 
but  come  and  got  drenched  with  iis.' 

'If  the  waves  only  wetted  people,'  retorted  the  Kiiv;liHhinan, 
'it  would  be  nothini^.     Hut  they  also  wash  thouj  ovt»rbt)iirtl.' 

'  \\;\\\  !  I  ahidl  take  good  care  of  myself,'  said  the  young  ^irl,  pull- 
ing  him  by  the  arm. 

Once  on  dock,  Aunt  Basiliquo,  H»mtod  on  a  bench,  had  askud  to 
have  a  rope  passed  aro\tnd  her  body,  so  as  to  prevent  her  being 
thrown  down  by  the  motion  of  the  steamer.  I'aiilette,  would  not 
submit  to  this  moaauro  of  precaution.  She  wanted  to  be  free  in  her 
movements,  in  order  to  bo  in  the  best  part  of  the  steamer  to  see  her 
parents  sooner.  As  to  Mr.  Drack,  he  was,  in  spite  <jf  his  age,  a 
vigor«)U8  man.  Like  most  of  his  countrymen  he  had  travelled  a 
great  deal,  and  did  not  want  any  advice.  The  stoamor  was  entering 
ihe  port  itself,  and  in  loss  than  a  minute  would  be  in  calm  watem, 
when  a  wave  larger  than  any  they  had  yet  encountered  broke  itself 
on  the  side  of  the  steamer.  A  mountain  of  water  fell  on  the  deck 
mid  swept  it.  In  the  midst  of  the  noise  of  tliis  unexpected  cataract, 
a  loud  cry  was  hoard,  a  heart-rending  cry,  and  then  silence.  When 
t]»u  deck  was  clear,  AuntBa8ili(pio  and  Mr.  Drack  found  themselves 
al<t!io,  Tho  same  exclamation  of  despair  escaped  from  their  lips  at 
the  same  time. 

•Paulette  !  Paulette!' 

It  was  only  too  easy  to  understand  what  had  happened.  Tho 
wave  had  thrown  her  down  and  carried  her  away,  on  retiring.  Tho 
unhappy  girl  was  lost. 

'  Paulotte ! '  cried  Aunt  Basiliquo  once  more,  8truggli»>g  with  tho 
anguish  of  madness.   *  Wait,  I  am  going  to  your  help  ! ' 

And  the  unhappy  woman,  who  did  not  know  how  to  swim,  would 
certainly  have  thrown  herself  into  the  sea  with  the  ma  I  heroism  of 
tlioso  who,  without  depending  on  their  strength  and  on  thoir  science, 
obey  the  first  movement  of  their  heart.  Luckily,  she  had  been  tied 
with  a  rope,  as  we  have  said,  and  she  was  unable  to  move.  She 
attempted  to  nndo  the  hard  sailor's  knot.  She  oidy  hurt  her 
fingers,  but  she  could  not  succeed.  All  this  time  Mr.  Drack  had 
not  remained  inactive,  and  while  storming  against  the  mad  impru- 
dence of  the  young  girl  who,  after  all,  ho  said,  was  only  a  stranger 
to  him,  he  had  mechanically  taken  otl"  his  heavier  clothing.  Then 
seeing  a  life-preserver  at  hand,  bo  had  thrown  it  overboard.  After 
tl»at,  taking  advantage  of  a  new  wave  which  was  sweeping  tho  deck, 
ho  was  voluntarily  carried  by  it, 

'This  way,'  ho  thought,  with  ten  feet  of  water  over  his  head, 
'  there  are  chances  that  I  will  be  pushed  towards  tho  little  one.' 

When  he  appeared  at  tho  surface,  he  looked  around  him.  At  first 
ho  could  not  see  anything  in  tho  small  radius  his  eyes  could  em- 
brace.    For  one  moment  he  thought  he  had  undertaken  a  usoIchs 


132  A    MARTYR. 

taak.  But  being  lifted  a  few  feet  hif^lier  by  a  wave,  he  perceived  a 
shred  of  stuff.  It  was  the  petticoat  of  Paulette,  whose  body  was 
sometimes  floating  and  sometimes  sinking,  at  the  whim  of  the  storm. 
The  courageous  Englishman  did  not  exhaust  his  strength  in  super- 
fluous cries.  He  swam  a  short  distance,  with  the  supreme  effort 
inspired  by  desperate  situations,  and  he  soon  had  the  chance  of 
seizing  the  child  by  her  beautiful  hair,  which  was  untied. 

*Good  ! '  he  thought,  with  his  usual  phlegm,  'the  most  import- 
ant part  of  the  task  is  accomplished. 

But  he  had  hardly  raised  the  head  of  the  young  girl  above  water 
to  allow  her  to  breathe,  then  with  the  desperate  instinct  common  to 
all  people  who  are  drowning,  she  clung  to  him  ;vith  such  violence 
that  all  his  movements  were  paralyzed. 

'  If  I  do  not  tear  myself  away  from  her  grasp,'  he  thought,  '  we 
will  sink  together,  and  we  are  lost.  Yes,  but  if  I  abandon  her,  if  I 
let  her  die,  the  image  of  the  little  one  will  come  every  night  and 
trouble  me  in  ray  sleep  ;  and  it  will  be  very  annoying.  Decidedly, 
I  will  either  go  up  there  with  her,  or  I  will  not  go  up  at  all  !  ' 

And,  disengaging,  by  a  supreme  effort,  liia  arms  from  those  of  the 
young  girl,  he  commenced  to  swim  vi-^orously  ;  but  it  was  not  a 
small  affair  to  struggle  against  such  a  sea,  chiefly  with  the  weiglit 
of  the  body  of  the  poor  child.  Luckily,  the  life  preserver  he  had 
thrown  overboard  passed  near  him.  He  grasped  it  and  was  able  to 
find  a  little  rest. 

*  Provided,'  he  said  to  himself,  'that  somebody  has  noticed  our 
disappearance,  because  we  cannot  depend  much  upon  Aunt  Bvsi- 
lique.     The  poor  lady  must  have  lost  her  head  altogether.' 

He  looked  towards  the  land  and  saw  that  ho  was  about  four  or 
five  hundred  feet  from  the  coast. 

'  It  wouldn't  be  the  devil  of  a  job,  if  I  was  alone.  But  for  the 
two  it  will  be  harder  !  And  then  there  must  be  breakers  on  that 
coast,  and  perhaps  I  will  not  be  able  to  prevent  the  head  of  the 
little  one  from  being  broken  ! ' 

But  after  all,  feeling  that  his  strength  was  yetting  exhausted  in 
spite  of  the  help  of  the  life  preserver,  he  had  almost  resolved  to 
abandon  this  transient  support,  and  try  to  reach  the  shore  with  his 
precious  burden,  when  a  boat  appeared.  The  accident  had  been 
signalled  on  board,  and  four  courageous  sailors  had  reached  the 
scene.  One  minute  after  they  were  carrying  Paulette  unconscious, 
but  still  living,  to  the  arms  of  Aunt  B  isilique,  who  had  also  fainted, 
As  soon  as  the  two  women,  so  rudely  shaken,  had  re^'ained  consci- 
ousness, and  when  they  had  embraced  each  other,  with  the  joy  of 
people  who  had  lost  all  hopes  of  Seeing  each  other  a^^ain,  Paulette 
asked  to  go  on  shore  .at  once. 

'  Let  us  quit  the  ship  as  soon  as  possible,'  she  asked.  '  Let  us 
go  on  shore.     My  father  and  mother  must  be  in  a  terrible  state. 


A   MARTYR.  133 

Poor  dear  parents  !     If  they  have  witnessed  the  accident,  they  must 
certainly  be  mad  with  fright  ! ' 

*  Yes/  answered  her  aunt.  *  Let  U8  go  at  once.  We  will  go  to 
the  hotel  and  rest  a  little.' 

And  we  will  find  father  and  mother  ! '  insisted  Paulette. 

*  Probably,'  answered  the  old  lady  with  embarrassment.  Now 
less  than  ever  had  she  the  courage  to  tell  the  poor  younggirl  of  the 
threatening  evil. 

As  they  were  leaving  the  steamer,  they  met  Mr.  Drack.  Paulette 
had  just  been  told  it  was  he  who  had  saved  her  life.  She  thre'-r 
herself  on  the  breast  of  the  good  Englishman.  He  repulsed  her 
with  a  little  roui^hness,  perhaps  to  hide  hia  emotion,  although  he 
pretended  not  to  know  what  that  word  meant. 

'  Be  careful,  L  pray  you,  Mile.  Paulette,'  he  said.  '  This  is  the 
second  time  to-day  that  you  have  rumpled  my  linen  in  kissing  me 
so  hard  ! ' 

'  You  did  not  think  of  your  linen  when  you  jumped  into  the  sea 
a  few  minutes  ago,'  looking  at  him  with  eyes  full  of  gratitude.  *  I 
owe  you  my  life,  Mr.  Drack  !  Oh  !  how  my  father  and  my  mother 
will  love  you  when  I  tell  them  what  you  have  done  for  me  !  How 
they  will  thank  you  ! ' 

'  I  defy  them  to  do  so  !  On  coming  out  of  the  steamer  I  take 
the  first  train  to  Paris,  and  thence  to  England  !  ' 

'  Oh  !  you  will  not  do  that  !  It  is  impossible  !  My  parents  must 
see  you,  they  must  know  you  ! ' 

'  Dear  Mr.  Drack,'  added  Aunt  Basilique,  *  I  pray  you,  come  with 
us  to  the  hotel,  your  presence  will  perhaps  be  very  necessary  there 
also  ! ' 

The  old  consul  bowed  and  obeyed,  saying  to  himself  at  the  same 
time  that  it  was  not  worth  while  to  be  unmarried,  if  he  was  to  be 
the  prey  of  the  first  woman  who  required  his  services.  Arrived  at 
the  hotel  Aunt  Basilique  found  herself  very  unwell  ;  not  only  the 
shock  had  been  too  violent  for  her  nerves,  when  she  had  seen  her 
niece  disappear,  but  she  also  folt  physical  suffering.  The  wet 
clothes   she  had  kept  on  too  long  had  given   her    a  severe   cold. 

Paulette  had  to  give  up  the  hope  of  seeing  her  parents.  But 
how  was  it  that  they  had  not  come  to  meet  her  ? 

'  It  is  quite  natural,'  answered  Mr.  Drack,  to  soothe  her,  '  our 
steamer  is  a  splendid  sailer  and  we  have  arrived  two  days  ahead  of 
our  time. ' 

'  Well,'  said  Paulette,  'since  they  could  not  come  on  time  I  will 
go  to  them  myself,  without  losing  even  an  hour.' 

*  Listen,'  said  Aunt  Basilique,  who  was  in  bed  and  shivering,  *  I 
will  go  if  you  desire  it,  but  I  assure  you  I  am  very  unwell.  I  want 
two  days'  rest. ' 

'  Two  days  ! ' 


134  A   MARTYR. 

Puulotto  repeated  the  worrl  with  siicli  an  accent  of  despair  that 
the  old  huly  took  pity  on  her.  It  waa  the  good  Mr.  Diack,  who, 
annoyed  at  being  obliged  to  remain  in  Marseilles  all  the  time  Pail- 
lette wished  to  keep  him  there,  came  to  the  rescue. 

'  Let  us  see,'  he  said  to  the  child,  '  we  must  come  to  a  conclu- 
Bion.  Will  you  let  ine  take  you  to  your  father  in  Paris  1  Your 
aunt  will  remain  here  a  few  days  to  rest  herself.* 

The  proposition,  transmitted  to  Aunt  Basilicpie,  had  been  ac- 
cepted with  enthusiasm,  the  more  so  that  this  combination  threw 
on  the  ex-consul  the  heavy  task  of  telling  Paulette  how  matters 
Btood  between  her  parents  whilst  they  were  speeding  on  to  Paris. 
M.  de  Moray's  sister  had  given  to  the  good  man  all  the  instructions 
necessary.  He  had  promised  to  reveal  to  the  young  girl  all  that 
was  necessary  for  her  to  know  on  the  way.  He  had  promised,  true 
enough,  but  he  had  not  dared,  so  that  Paulette  when  she  arrived  at 
the  house,  happy  and  confiding',  had  only  one  thought,  that  of 
clasping  her  father  and  her  mother  in  her  arms. 

\Vhen  Paulette  entered  the  drawing-room,  dragging  after  her 
Mr.  Elias  Drack,  who  was  in  sore  distress,  Maltar  was  coming  in 
by  another  door.  A  large  screen  hid  him  from  the  young  girl. 
Her  voice  startled  him. 

'  Mile.  Paulette,'  thought  the  Indian.  '  How  does  it  happen 
that  she  has  arrived  to-day,  unknown  to  her  father  ?  And  who  is 
the  man  accompanying  her  ? ' 

The  faithful  servant  thought  he  should  find  his  young  mistress 
in  deep  sorrow.  The  poor  child  must  have  felt  a  painful  sensation 
in  seeing  the  house  where  a  stranger  had  taken  the  place  of  her 
beloved  mother.  And  as  he  hesitated  to  show  himself,  he  was 
astonished  to  h  hear  Paulette  cry  out  in  joyful  tones  : 

'  Come,  come,  Mr.  Drack,  why  do  you  argue  with  that  porter  1 
I  do  not  know  him.  Do  you  suppose  I  want  any  one  to  show  me 
ray  way  through  my  father's  house  ? ' 

'But  this   man  asks 'answered  the  good   Englishman,  who 

was  very  much  embarrassed. 

*  Well,  let  him  ask,  and  come  in  with  me.  What  is  more  natural 
after  all  ?  We  disembark  on  Varennes  street,  where  nobody  ex- 
pects either  of  us;  and  as  for  you,  you  are  completely  unknown. 
We  meet  the  porter,  and  the  following  conversation  takes  place  ; 

'  M.  and  Mme,  de  Moray,  if  you  please  ? ' 
'  They  are  both  out,  miss,' 
'  Both  of  them  1 ' 
'Both  of  them.' 

*  That  is  annoying.     M,  and  Mme.  de  la  Marche  are  there  ? ' 

f  The  admiral  and  Mme.  de  la  Marche  do  not  live  here,  now, 
nuca. 

*  Is  that  so  ?  When  did  they  leave  ? ' 
'  About  two  months  ago.* 


A   MARTYR.  135 

*  That  is  strange.  What  does  it  mean  i  However,  it  shall  be 
explained  by-and-by.  And  as  I  come  into  the  liouso,  although 
the  masters  are  out.* 

'  Where  are  yon  going,  miss  ? '  says  the  porter,  in  no  gracious 
mood.  '  I  have  told  you  that  the  Cuunt  and  Countess  de  Mi)ray 
were  out. ' 

*  Well,  I  say,  I  shall  wait  for  them,'  laughing  at  the  ruHled  look 
of  that  Cerberus,  '  When  they  come  in,  tell  M.  and  Mme.  do  Mo- 
ray tliat  Miss  Pauletto  de  Moray  has  arrived,  and  wishes  to  see 
them  at  once.' 

'  And  then  I  take  your  hand,  to  the  great  auiazumeut  of  the 
portor,  and  lead  you  into  this  drawing-room,  where  I  must  tell  you 
my  joy  and  my  happiness,  coat  what  it  will.' 

'  But,  my  dear  child,'  says  Mr.  Drack,  trying  to  stop  her  prattle. 

'  Yes,  yes,'  she  said,  (juickly,  '  I  know  what  you  are  going  to  say. 
What  odds  is  it  to  you  that  1  am  happy  ?  That  is  none  of  your 
business.  You  will  take  the  first  train  to  England,  where  there  is 
no  little  girl  to  throw  herself  in  your  way,  and  whom  you  shall  not 
be  obliged  to  save  from  drowning  at  the  risk  of  your  life.  And 
there  you  will  be  egotistical  at  your  ease.  And  you  will  think  of 
yourself,  only  of  yourself  ;  you  will  be  the  happiest  man  in  the 
world.  That's  understood.  But  remain  here  one  short  hour  before 
you  enter  on  that  beautiful  life.  Wait  until  I  meet  my  father  and 
mother.  Witness  once  in  your  life  people  who  love  each  other 
dearly,  and  who,  on  account  of  that  love,  are  still  happier  than 
you,  no  matter  what  you  may  say  to  the  contrary,  for  their  own 
happiness  is  increased  tenfold  by  the  happiness  of  those  who.u  they 
love  ! ' 

Upon  hearing  this  flood  of  words,  Maltar  understood.  His  young 
mistress  knew  nothing  of  the  events  which  had  transpired  in  the 
house.  He  shuddered.  An  involuntary  motion  and  the  noise  he 
made  in  striking  a  piece  of  furniture,  revealed  his  presence.  He 
then  showed  himself. 

*  Ah  !  Maltar  !  '  cried  Paulette,  joyously.  *  It  is  you,  Maltar  ! 
How  happy  I  am  to  see  you  !  Seeing  you  is  like  seeing  a  member  of 
the  family.' 

The  Indian,  much  moved,  respectfully  kissed  the  hand  of  the 
child. 

'  Mistress  ! '  he  stammered. 

'  Do  you  understand  this,  Maltar  ? '  said  Paulette,  '  the  porter 
would  not  let  me  come  in,  under  the  pretence  that  M.  and  Mme.  de 
Moray  are  out  ! ' 

'  He  wanted  to  know  who  we  were,'  observed  Mr.  Drack,  who 
was  afraid,  if  Maltar  spoke  he  would  say  too  much,  '  and  the  man 
was  right,  since,  not  finding  your  parents  in  Marseilles,  you  would 


136  A   MARTYR. 

not  allow  me  to  advise  them  by  despatch  of  your  early  arrival  in 
Paris.' 

*  No,  no,' said  the  young  girl,  *I  wanted  to  surprise  my  dear 
father  and  my  beloved  mother,  in  throwing  myself  suddenly  into 
their  arms,  and  offering  them  all  my  heart  on  my  lips.' 

'  Her  mother  ! '  sighed  Maltar. 

Mr.  Drack  made  an  energetic  gesture  behind  Paulette.  He  put 
his  first  finger  on  his  lips,  and  opened  his  eyes  so  wide  that  they 
nearly  jumped  out  of  their  sockets.  Maltar  gave  a  nod  that  he 
understood. 

*  Well,  well,  Maltar  ! '  joyfully  cried  the  unhappy  child,  *  speak 
to  me  of  my  father  and  mother.  How  are  they  /  Both  well,  un- 
doubtedly, since  they  are  out  ! ' 

While  talking,  Paulette  had  commenced  to  take  off  her  travelling 
dress. 

*  You  do  not  even  ask  news  of  Aunt  Basilique,'  said  she  in  a  tone 
of  reproach  to  the  Indian.  *  I  have  left  her  in  Marseilles,  a  little 
unwell,  but  it  will  be  nothing.  Only  that  is  the  reason  why  Mr. 
Drack  has  been  kind  enough  to  come  with  me.  What  was  I  saying  ? 
Oh,  yes  !  Since  my  father  and  mother  were  not  there  to  receive 
us,  we  will  receive  them,  that's  all.  In  the  first  place,  Maltar,  see 
that  no  one  advises  them  of  my  arrival.' 

'Yes,  mistress,  at  once.' 

And  the  faithful  servant  went  out  of  the  drawing-room.  He 
wanted  to  be  alone  to  relieve  his  heart,  which  was  overflowing  with 
tears.  Mr.  Drack,  also  wanted  to  go  away.  He  was  not  much 
flattered  with  the  mission  which  Aunt  Basilique  had  confided  to 
him  to  impart  to  t^o  young  girl  the  painful  knowledge  of  her  un- 
happiness  ;  at  first,  he  had  hesitated  a  good  deal  on  the  way  be- 
tween Marseilles  and  Lyons,  and  had  resolved  to  speak  beyond  the 
latter  place.  But  between  Lyons  and  Paris,  he  had  takt  i,  as  we 
have  seen,  a  resohition  altogether  contrary  to  the  instructions  he 
had  received,  and  he  had  made  himself  believe  that  nobody  could 
break  the  news  to  the  poor  child  more  prudently  than  her  father. 
That  was  the  reason  why  he  had  brought  her  to  Varennes  street 
without  having  spoken. 

And  now  that  his  charge  was  out  of  all  danger,  under  the  care  of 
her  family,  the  good  man  had  a  fixed  idea  :  he  wanted  to  go  away, 
very  far,  at  once  ;  he  did  not  wish  to  be  present  when  the  necessary 
explanation  between  father  and  daughter  would  take  place.  He 
made  a  move  towards  his  4\at,  which  he  had  placed  on  a  table  on 
entering.     Paulette  noticed  it,  and  stopped  him  short. 

*  Well,'  she  said,  *  whal  are  you  doing  ? ' 

*  You   see,    dear   child,  I  but  no,   nothing  !    I   am   doing 

nothing  ! '  % 


A   MAUTVU.  137 

*  Nevertheless,'  said  the  yovin'»  girl,  laiighinj^,  '  if  I  had  not 
turned  around  in  time,  you  would  have  fled  like  a  thiof.  But  I 
have  caught  you  in  the  very  act,  and  you  deny  it  in  vain,' 

*  Well,  it  is  true,'  said  Mr.  Drack,  '  I  confess.  I  wanted  to  go 
away.' 

*  After  having  taken  caro  of  me  during  the  whole  passage,  after 
having  saved  mo  from  drowning  at  the  risk  of  your  own  life,  after 
having  brought  mo,  all  alone,  by  ourselves,  all  the  way  from  Mar- 
seilles to  Paris,  you  want  to  run  away  without  receiving  my  parents' 
thanks. ' 

'  My  dear  lady,  you  have  nothing  to  thank  me  for.  1  have  done 
that  without  enthusiasm,  I  can  assure  you.' 

Paulette  smiled.  She  was  getting  used  now  to  the  self-deprecia- 
tion of  that  excellent  man. 

'And  now  that  you  are  at  home,'  continued  the  Englishman, 
'  now  that  you  do  not  require  my  services  any  longer,  I  have  the 
honor  to ' 

'No,'  gently  said  Paulette,  resting  her  little  hand  on  the  old 
gentleman's  arm,  and  looking   at   him  with  sincere  aliV'ction,  '  no, 

you  will  not  have  the  honor  to You  will  remain.     My  parents 

must  see  the  one  with  whom  1  have  made  this  long  trip,  and  I  must 
tell  them  ajl  your  solicitude,  the  kindness  you  have  displayed  to- 
wards me,  that  they  may  thank  you.' 

'You  think  I  must  see  your  parents,'  asked  the  ex-consul, 
scratching  his  nose,  as  a  sign  of  hesitation. 

'  It  is  imperative.     You  must  see  them  all.' 

'  All  !  even  your  grand-father,  the  admiral  ?  and  your  grand- 
mother i ' 

'  Even  my  grand-mother  and  my  grand-father.' 

'  Great  heavens  ! '  groaned  Mr.  Drack.  '  People  should  not  be 
allowed  to  have  so  many  relations.' 

'  And  how  many  have  you  got  ? '  asked  Paulette,  laughing. 

*  I  !  none.     I  am  my  only  relative,  thank  God  I ' 
'  Oh  !  how  I  pity  you  ! ' 

'  You  are  very  wrong.  Being  alone  in  the  world,  all  the  aflection 
which  I  should  divide,  otherwise,  among  the  diflferent  members  of 
my  family  I  have  concentrated  altogether  on  the  only  person  who 
is  dear  to  me.' 

'  And  who  is  that  person,  dear  sir  I ' 

*  That  person,  miss,  is  myself. ' 

*  What  !  Jt  is  yourself  that  you  love  so  tenderly  ? '  said  Paulette, 
still  laughing. 

'  Well,'  said  the  selfish  man,  '  I  know  of  no  better  means  to  have 
nothing  to  do  with  ungrateful  people.' 

'Still,  it  is  a  great  pleasure  to  have  some  one  to  i  )ve,'  cried  the 
young  girl,  with  a  charming  impulse. 
I 


ISS         -  A    MARTVn. 

'  Who  do  you  say  that  to  !  '  said  Mr.  Drack.     '  If  you  only  knew 
the  immenso  lovo  I  have  for  myself.' 
'  Say,  Mr.  Drack  I ' 

*  What  i ' 

Paulette  hesitated  a  little,  and  then  recovered  her  courage. 
'  V^ou  have  never  loved  a  woman,  then,  since  you  are  not  mar- 
ried ? ' 

*  Well  !  that  is  preposterous  ! '  energetically  protested  the  old 
trader. 

*  Well !  I — I  have  not  told  you  yet,  hut  I  have  no  secret  from  you, 
1  love  a  young  man.' 

The  poor  girl  blushed  as  she  said  this,  and  hastily  continued, 

*  And  we  will  be  married  soon,  M.  fJaston  de  Valliferes  and  I  ; 
for,  luckily  my  parents  are  rich  enough  not  to  care  for  the  wealth 
of  the  man  of  my  choice,  and  in  that  matter  they  will  have  no  will 
but  mino. ' 

Mr.  Drack  trembled  again.  The  conversation  was  getting  on 
burning  ground,  and  the  good  man  would  have  given  a  grefit  deal 
to  see  M.  de  Moray  come  in  to  relieve  him.  Happily,  with  the 
versatility  of  youth,  tl  e  mind  of  Paulette  took  another  direction.' 

*  By  the  way,'  she  said  quickly,  '  I  was  almost  forgetting.  It  is 
very  lucky  I  thought  of  i  t  in  time.     I  say,  my  dear  Mr.  Drack.' 

*  My  dear  lady  i ' 

'  Have  you  your  likeness  with  you.' 

*  My  likeness  !  '  repeated  the  ex-consul,  astonished  and  almost 
flattered. 

'  Yes,  your  portrait. ' 

'  What,  you  want  me  to  give  you  my  portrait,'  said  he,  modestly 

'  Oh  I  it  is  not  for  me.     It  is  to  send  it  to  M.  Gaston.' 

'  Who  is  M.  Gast.m  i ' 

*  M.  de  Vitlliferes,  the  young  man  whom ' 

*  Oh  !  yea,  the  young  man  whose But  what  a  queer  idea  to 

send  my  likeness  to  that  young  man.     How  can  it  interest  him  ?  ' 

'  It  is  very  sin>ple.  M.  Gaston  de  Valliferes  will  know  some  day 
that  Aunt  Basilique  nnd  I  had  a  very  assiduous  companion  on  the 
boat.  And  what  is  more  serious,  he  will  also  know  that  we  have 
travelled  all  alone  from  Marseilles  to  Paris.     So,  I  wish  him  to 

have  your  likeness,  to  be  reassured.     Because  he  might  believe 

You  understand,  don't  you  ? ' 

*  Oh  !  oh  !  '  said  Mr.  Drack,  '  it  is  to  reassure  him  that  you  wish 
me  to  give  you  my  likeness.  Well,  truly,  1  must  confess,  it  is  the 
first  time  that  a  young  lady  hos  ever  asked  a  man's  photograph  to 
reassure  another.' 

'  What  I  ask  you  is  very  natural,'  said  Paulette. 
*Ahem  !  and  very  flattering.' 


A   MARTYR.  130 

'  Why,  certainly  I  very  flattering  !  When  he  see*  those  eyes  so 
pood,  so  loyal,  that  face  so  open  and  so  frank,  M.  Gaston  de 
Valliferes  will  understand  what  an  honest  man  I  had  as  a  protector 
during  <hat  long  voyage,  and  he  shall  love  you  as  dearly  as  those  I 
will  find  here  will,' 

'Well,  well,'  answered  the  old  gentleman,  grumbling,  'all  these 
people  will  make  a  poor  investment  of  their  afTection,  becatiso  I 
must  confeps  I  could  not  pay  the  interest  on  their  capital.' 

*  Well,  now,'  said  Paulette,  gaily,  '  I  am  sure  that  is  pure 
calumny  on  your  part.  You  will  see  how  good  aie  all  those  I  love  I 
you  will  see  how  you  will  be  forced  to  love  them,  in  spite  of  your- 
self !  and  you  shall  also  see  the  great  happiness  there  is  in  this 
house,  because  love  reigns  supreme,  because,  say  what  you  will, 
true  happiness  is  in  affection  and  love.  Ah  !  the  dear  house  I  '  she 
kept  on  with  a  delicious  impulse,  '  this  cradle  of  my  childhood,  this 
beloved  abode  which  1  have  not  seen  for  t  least  eight  years  !  But, 
nevertheless,  although  I  have  not  seen  it  for  such  a  long  time,  1 
remember  it  quite  well.  Hero,  see  for  yourself.  There,  at  the 
right,  is  a  little  parlor  that  I  recall  to  my  mind  as  if  I  had  been 
there  yesterday.  It  is  mamma's  boudoir,  the  room  she  liked  best. 
The  hangings  are  rose-colored.      Go  and  see  it.' 

Mr.  Drack  opened  the  door  she  showed  him. 

*  Yes,'  he  said,  '  it  is  a  little  parlor  in  truth  ;  only  your  little  rose 
parlor  is  blue.' 

'  Blue  !  oh  !  I  am  so  sorry.  I  liked  it  so  much  as  it  was  in  other 
days.' 

'  Well,  the  hangings  have  been  changed.  This  is  done  very  often, 
and  you  need  not  fret  over  it.  Hangimj^s  get  old  and  they  are  re- 
placed by  others.     It  is  very  simple.' 

'  Certainly,  yes,  it  is  simple.  Well,  no  matter,  let  us  keep  on. 
You  will  see  that  this  time  I  am  not  mistaken.  In  the  little  par- 
lor, on  the  right  side  of  the  door,  there  is  a  wall,  and  on  that  wall, 
yo)i  will  see  a  large  portrait.' 

'  A  large  portrait  ? ' 

*  Yes.  A  beautiful  young  woman  with  a  white  satin  dress  on,  a 
ball  dress.     That  beautiful  lady  is  mamma,  you  know.' 

This  time  the  old  gentleman  was  again  embarrassed.     However, 

he  was  obliged  to  tell  the  truth. 

'  No,  my  dear  child  ,    no.     You  are  mistaken.' 

'  What  !  is  not  there  a  fl  all  on  which  hangs  a  portrait  ? ' 

•The  wall,   oh,  yes  !  the  wall   is  still   there,  but  no  portrait  is 

there. ' 

'  But  it   is   impossible  ! '  cried  Paulette,  rushing  to  the  door  of 

the  little  parlor,  which  Mr.  Drack   had    kept  open.     '  It  is  so,'  she 

continued;  '  my  mother's  portrait  is  riot  there.  What  have  they  done 

with  it  ? ' 


110  A    MARTYR. 

The  occasion  to  make  the  terrible  declaration  was  good,  but  the 
old  g«mtleman  did  not  intprove  it. 

'  Undoubtedly,'  hn  sjiid,  *  the  portrait  has  been  damaged  during 
yoiir  long  absence,  and  it  ia  bi'ini,'  repaired.' 

'  Yes,'  repeated  l*auletto,  already  comforted  by  this  declaration  ; 
*  it  must  be  getting  repaired.  Or  perhaps  my  father  had  it  trans- 
ferred to  his  own  private  room,  so  as  to  have  it  always  under  his 
eyes.      Yes,  it  mtist  be  so.     Oh  !  here  ! ' 

And  saying  this  the  young  girl  seized  a  little  picture  frame 
which  was  on  the  mantelpiece  of  tlie  drawing-room. 

'See,  here  is  my  own  portrait.  A  miniature  they  have  alwaj's 
with  them,  and  wliioli  they  have  brought  all  the  way  from  Pimdi- 
chdry.  I  was  very  yuung  when  this  photograph  was  tnken.  It  was 
during  my  last  voyage  to  Paris,  eight  years  ago.   Oh  !  look  ! ' 

'  Where  ? ' 

•  '  There,  on  the  glass. ' 

*  Well,  what?' 

*  You  see  nothing  ? ' 

*  Nothing  at  all.' 

*  Well,    I  I  see  marks    of   kisses,'  cried    Paulette,    much 

moved. 

She  pressed  her  lips  to  the  miniature  with  infinite  tenderness. 

'  Ah  ! '  she  said,  '  it  is  not  my  resemblance  1  am  kissing.  Dear 
mother,  I  am  gathering  your  own  kisses.' 

Had  Mr.  Drack  caught  a  cold  ?  He  had  hardly  coughed  as  yet. 
Hut  this  time  it  was  too  much  for  him.  He  coughed  loudly  and 
blew  his  nose  with  violetice.  Paulette  noticed  the  emotion  of  the 
good  man. 

'  You  see,'  she  said,  '  that  you  are  kind-hearted.  It  touches  you 
when  I  speak  of  my  mother. ' 

'  I,'  protested  the  old  consul,  vainly  trying  to  look  like  a  croco- 
dile. '  What  odds  is  that  to  me  ]  Is  it  any  of  my  business  i  I 
do  not  even  know  your  moiher. ' 

Paulette  kept  on  without  paying  any  heed  to  this  affected  indif- 
ference and  callousness  which  she  was  now  used  to. 

'  Oh  ! '  she  said  joyfully,  *  here  is  the  stand  on  which  mother 
puts  her  favorite  book?,  and  her  fancy  work.  Why,  there  are  no 
books  to-day.' 

'  There  is  no  work,  either,'  answered  Mr.  Drack. 

'  No,  no  books  !  no  work  ! '  cried  the  child  with  a  joyful   cry, 

*  but  a  handkerchief  which  mother  has  forgotten.     Oh  !  mamma  ! 
mamma  ! ' 

Saying  this,  the  dear  girl  put  the  handkerchief  to  her  lips,  but 
soon  dropped  it. 

'  It  is  singular,'  she  said,  softly,  '  this  handkerchief  is  perfumed, 
but  it  is  not  my  mother's  favorite  perfume.      Certainly,  this  hand- 


A    MAUTVH.  141 

kerchief  is  not  hers.  However,  here  is  the  crown  and  the  inter- 
woven initials.  But  no,  these  initials  are  not  hers  ;  before  the  M 
there  is  a  0,  instead  of  an  L.     How  is  that  ? ' 

She  remained  silent  for  a  few  minutes,  and  then  she  cried  with 
anxiety  in  her  voice. 

'  Oh  !  my  God  !  I  do  not  know  what  I  feel.  All  these  changes 
in  our  house  where  I  remember  nothing,  wbere  I  am  like  a 
stranger.  My  mother's  portrait  which  is  not  in  its  usual  place.  The 
cipher  which  is  changed  on  a  handkerchief  which  belongs  to  her, 
wliich  must  belong  to  her.  All  that  irritates  and  disturbs  me.  1 
must  know  ! ' 

And  she  turned  towards  another  door  leading  in  an  opposite  di- 
rection. 

'  Where  are  you  going  ? '  asked  the  old  consul. 

'  Into  my  mother's  room,'  answered  the  child  quickly.  '  There, 
at  least,  I  shall  find  things  which  will  speak  to  me  of  her.  Wait  for 
me,  Mr.  Drack  ;  wait  for  me.' 

She  has'.ily  withdrew  from  the  drawing-room. 

*  Poor  thing  ! '  thought  the  good  Englishman  when  he  was  alone, 
but  without  losing  his  usual  placidity.  '  She  is  very  nervous,  very 
excited.  It  is  too  bad.  I  am  very  glad,  indeed,  not  to  have  any 
children.  In  the  first  place,  it  means  usually  that  we  have  not,  or 
that  we  never  had  a  wife  ;  and  when  one  loves  a  calm  and  peace- 
able life,  it  is  already  a  serious  chance  of  happiness.' 

He  was  thus  philosophically  soliloquizing,  when  Paulette  re- 
entered the  room.  The  poor  child  looked  excited,  worse  than  that, — 
terrified.  She  was  staggering,  and  was  obliged  to  lean  on  the  fur- 
niture to  save  herself  from  falling. 

'  Mr.  Drack !  Mr.  Drack  ! '  she  cried  with  a  strangled  voice. 

*  What  is  the  matter,  my  dear  ?'  asked  her  companion,  more  and 
more  annoyed  to  be  mixed  up  with  a  venture  which  began  so 
tragically. 

'The  matter  is  that  I  am  frightened,' she  said. 
And  she  shuddered  as  she  leaned  on  nis  arm. 
'  It  is  true,  you  are  trembling.    Come,  my  dear  child,  it  is  not  at 
all  reasonable  to  put  yourself  into  such  a  state.' 

*  You  know,'  she  said,  '  1  went  into  my  mother's  room,  thinking 
that  there,  at  least,  there  would  be  no  change,  as  in  the  little 
parlor. ' 

*  Well  ] ' 

*  Well,  there,  as  here,  I  found  nothing  belonging  to  my  mother. 
Everything  is  changed.  Every  piece  of  furniture  my  mother  liked 
so  much  has  been  removed.  Already  annoyed  by  this  change, 
moved  in  spite  of  myself,  I  opened  the  door  of  my  mother's  dress- 
ing room,  where  she  always  makes  her  toilet.  A  strange  sight  met 
my  eyes.     In  other  days  my  mother  was  simplicity  itself  in  her 


142  A    MARTYR. 

<lress,  and  there  I  saw,  thrown  on  dummios,  drusaes  of  ^rreat  luxury, 
BO  much  so,  indeed,  that  I  asked  myself  if  1  was  dreaming.' 

The  <.50()d  Eufjlishinan  was  very  much  embarrassed  and  pained  to 
see  Paulette  in  such  '  state  of  excitement,  and  would  willingly  have 
done  something  to  h  xjthe  her,  although  the  effort  demanded  more 
sensibility  than  he  credited  himself  with.  Hut,  on  tlie  other  hand, 
since  in  a  few  mitiutcs  the  poor  child  would  necessarily  learn  the 
cruel  truth,  why  not  let  her  get  used  to  the  pain  by  her  first  sus- 
picions, however  vague  they  were  i 

*  Come,'  he  said,  '  there  is  no  use  in  tormenting  yourself.  Your 
nKjther  was  very  simple  in  her  tastes,  you  say  i  VVoll,  she  has 
changed  since  her  arrival  in  Paris.  She  has  become  worldly,  ele- 
gant.' 

'No,  nt),'  she  cried,  '  it  is  impossible.  Those  dresses  which  I 
have  seen,  and  which  shock  my  sight  and  my  modesty,  would 
never  be  worn  by  my  mother.  But  I  have  not  told  you  all  !  Attract- 
ed by  the  noise  I  made  in  entering  the  room,  the  maid  c;ime  in.  It 
is  not  the  same  one  my  mother  had  with  her  in  India,  and  whom 
she  brcmght  back  with  her. ' 

"  What  are  you  doing  here  i  "  sharply  demanded  the  girl.  "  Who 
are  you  ?" 

'  I  told  her  my  name,  and  she  looked  at  me  with  a  sneer  in  her 
eyes,  which  made  me  ashamed.  Then,  she  said,  ironically  1 
would  swear  :  — 

"  Ah  !  you  are  the  daughter  of  M.  de  Moray.  Then  1  beg  your 
pardon." 

'  M.  de  Moray's  daughter  !  Why  did  she  speak  tiius  /  I  had  a 
mind  to  ask  her  if  I  was  not  Mine,  de  Moray's  daughter  as  well  &a 
M.  de  Moray's,  I  did  not  do  so,  because  [  was  wounded  to(j  deeply 
by  her  chatting  looks.  I  merely  took  a  last  glance  around  me,  and  [ 
lelt  that  I  was  not  in  my  mother's  room.  1  lost  my  senses.  I 
yelled  aloud,  I  think,  and  I  Hed  towards  you,  hardly  knowing  what 
I  was  doing,  and  groping  my  way,  as  my  eyesight  was  dimmed  by 
tears. ' 

The  poor  child  sobbed  bitterly.  She  had  arrived  in  Paris  full 
of  happiness  at  the  thought  of  seeing  her  un)ther,  and  in  less  than 
half  an  hour  she  had  been  thrown  from  the  highest  hopes  to  the 
direst  misery.  Poor  Mr.  Drack  was  nearly  demented.  He  could 
only   repeat  the  same  common  phrases. 

'  Now  I  now  !  dear  child  !  be  calm  !  1  beg  of  you  ! ' 

Be  calu)  I  the  only  words  of  people  who  have  no  good  reason  to 
give. 

'  But,*  said  Paulette,  '  if  everything  here  is  so  difterent  from  what 
it  was,  my  mother  must  also  have  changed.'  Great  heavens  !  if 
her  heart  should  not  be  the  same  as  of  yore,  and  if  her  eyes  did  not 
know  me  !  ' 


A    MAUTYU.  143 

This  time  the  coaaul  tliuught  ho  could  protest  without  dan^'er, 
and  he  did  it  in  a  humoruua  way,  which  hu  thou;{Ut  wua  the  height 
of  amiability. 

*  What  you  say  in  foolish,'  he  said  with  goneroud  iiidit^niition. 
'  In  truth  these  little  French  women  are  Ciipable  uf  all  Horts  of 
absurd  thiii<{8.  The  devil  !  my  dear  child,  your  mother  may  have 
chani{ed  the  han^ingd  and  the  carpets  uf  the  lututie,  her  dressus  and 
her  jewels.  8he  mi^ht  even  have  taken  another  husband  (this  was 
the  phrase  ho  thought  so  clever),  but  she  has  nut  ceased  to  love 
you.     Tlie  love  uf  a  mother  never  chanj,'os.' 

'  You  are  rij^ht,*  said  Fuulette,  lauj^hiiig  throui-h  her  tears,  '  and 

I  am  foolish,  as  you  say.     1  will  soon  set!  my  mother,  and  then 

But,  hark  !    I  hear  the  noise  uf  a  carriage  in  the  yard.     Hero   is 
uiother.     1 ' 

She  rushed  to  the  window  to  see  Mme.  de  Moray. 

'  No,'  she  said,  '  it  is  not  her.  It  is  my  father.  Ah  I  my  dear 
Mr.  Drack  !  Now,  I  will  await  mother's  return  without  anxiety, 
since  I  shall  be  in  my  father's  arms.' 

She  went  towai'ds  the  door  on  sayiny  these  words.  A  few  m<i- 
ments  later  a  man  rushed  in.     It  was  the  Count  de  Moray. 

'  Fauletto  !  my  child  ! '  cried  Roger,  pressing  his  daughter  to  his 
heart. 

'  Oh  !  father  !  dear  father  I '  cried  the  dear  girl,  answering  his 
deep  tenderness  by  endless  kisses. 

'At   last  !'  thought  Mr.  Drack,  who   had  turned  aside  not   to 
hinder  the  out-pourings  of  their  love.       '  At  last  my  little  com- 
panion is  under  the  care  of  her  father.       My  task  is  ended, 
am  not  at  all  sorry. ' 

'My  daughter  !  my  beh)ved daughter  I '  the  count  was  repeating 
between  kisses.     '  Yes,  kiss  me  !  kiss  me  again  I ' 

And  their  caresses  commenced  anew.  Mr.  Drack  was  the  firfct 
one  tired.      It  is  true  he  was  only  a  spectator. 

*  ]\Ir.  de  Moray,'  he  said,  '  1  have  the  honor  to  bid  you  good- 
bye!' 

M.  de  Moray  turned  around.  He  had  not  yet  seen  the  stranger. 
As  to  Paulette,  she  had  altogether  forgotten  tluit  there  were  Enu- 
lishmoii  at  all  in  the  world,  although  there  w, is  one  right  there  who 
had  escorted,  protected,  and  even  saved  her  at  the  risk  of  his  life 
within  two  months.  The  sound  of  his  voice  brought  her  back  to 
a  sentiment  of  gratitude. 

'  Father,'  she  said,  '  T  am  very  ungrateful.  I  have  forgotten  to 
introduce  you  to  Mr.  Drack,  a  friend  who  has  been  very  good  to 
Aunt  Basilique  and  to  myself,  and  who  has  accompanied  me  all 
alone  from  Marseilles. ' 

'  Alone  !  '  repeated  the  count,  astonished,     '  How  is  that  ? ' 


144  A    MARTY  It. 

*  Alone  !  Yog,  M.  do  Moray,'  answorod  tho  old  (gentleman.  '  Drack, 
IjlMm  Drack,  ex-trador  iti  HritiHh  India,  and  ex-consul  of  Italy 
at  Calcutta.  I  havti  rrnigned  thoHe  functions,  and  I  am  retired  from 
liUHine.sH.      Yoiir  sister  was  »inw(dl,  an»l  was  ol)li^,'ed  to  stay  over  in 

Marseilles.     Sim  then  placed  Miss  I'aidotto  under  my  care But 

Miss  Paulotto  will  explain  all  that  to  you.   1  wish  only  to  say  a  few 
words  in  ])iivate  before  1  f,'o.' 

M.  do  Aloi'ay  tore  hiiuHolf  from  his  daughter's  arms  to  listen  to 
tho  private  communieiitiun  tho  Enj^lishnian  wished  \o  impart. 
When  tho  two  men  were  alone,  tho  ex-constil  said  : 

'  Ho  careful,  M.  de  Moray,  how  you  tell  your  daughter  what 
neither  your  sister  nor  I  have  had  the  courage  to  say.  Miss  l*au- 
lette  knows  nothing  of  what  has  happened  between  you  and  your 
wife.' 

'  Nothing  ! '  cried  M.  do  Moray,  tottering.  *  My  God  !  I  shall 
have  to  tell  my  dauj^hter ' 

'That  you  have  killed  a  man,  and  obtained  a  divorce  between 
her  mother  and  yourself.  Yes,  M.  do  Moray,  the  task  is  not  an 
easy  one,  and  you  must  understand  that  1  Would  rather  let  you  un- 
dertake it. ' 

And  turning  to  tho  young  girl : 

'  Good-bye,  my  dear  Miss  Faulette.  I  am  very  happy  to  have 
made  your  acquaintance  :  to  the  pleasure  of  our  next  meeting.' 

lie  took  the  hand  of  the  child  and  shook  it  energetically,  English 
fashion. 

*  You  are  going  already,'  asked  Paulette,  *  before  my  mother's 
return  ? ' 

*  I  nnist  go,  my  dear  child.  I  have  an  appointment  at  the  hotel. 
Besides,  your  father  has  a  great  many  things  to  tell  you,  things 
which  do  not  concern  me. ' 

'  But  you  will  come  again.' 

*  I  do  not  know  ;  1  must  leave  for  London  soon.' 

'Uh  !  I  wish  to  see  you  again.  I  want  to  mtike  you  acquainted 
with  mamma.     Promise  me  that  you  will  come.' 

'  Well,  since  you  wish  it,  I  promise.' 

Having  gained  his  liberty  by  this  promi.'^e,  Mr.  Drack  obtained 
permission  to  go.  Only,  coming  down  the  stairs  he  said  to  him- 
self : 

'  I  have  promised  to  come  back,  it  is  true,  but  I  have  not  said 
when  ;  and  I  shall  certainly  wait  until  everything  is  quiet  in  this 
house.  May  tho  devil  take  me  !  I  do  not  want  to  catch  heart- 
(Usease. ' 

Let  us  leave  the  good  man  on  the  way  to  his  hotel,  and  remain 
in  the  house  where  a  heart-rending  scene  awaits  the  reader.  M. 
do  Moray  must  now  summon  all  his  courage  to  tell  his  daughter, 
if  not  the  whole  truth,  at  least  enough  to  let  her  understand  how 


A    MAHTYR.  14.') 

it  haa  happened  that  her  parents  tniut  thereafter  V)o  strangeri  to 
each  other. 

After  Mr.  Drack'a  departure,  M.  <le  Moray  foil  in  an  aim-chair. 
His  clauG;hter  soutud  herself  on  u  stool,  her  arnt  leaning  on  her 
father's  knees,  and  her  head  resting;  on  his  breast. 

'  Father,  dear  !  how  happy  1  am  ! '  she  said.  *  You  have  done 
well  to  ccnne  back.  Do  you  see,  I  could  not  bear  to  remain  any 
longer  in  this  deserted  house  without  you  !  It  is  true  !  I  assure 
you,  I  was  losing  my  head  1  I  fancied  all  sorts  of  foolish  things, 
without  even  understanding  the  nightmares  I  formed.  Hut  now 
you  are  here  ;  I  am  in  your  arms  ;  I  fear  nothing',  and  can  await 
my  mother's  return  without  that  itorrible  anxiety  which  was  grasp- 
ing my  whole  being.' 

'  Your  mother  ! '  repeated  M.  de  Moray,  in  sore  distress. 

*  Yes,  my  mother  !  oh  !  you  will  not  be  jealous,  will  yt)U,  if  I 
tell  you  how  ardently  I  long  to  see  her  !  No  !  You  cannot  imagine 
the  joy  that  fills  my  heart,  when  1  think  that  we  shall  be  together, 
all  three  of  us  ! ' 

'  All  three  of  us  !  '  again  repeated  M.  de  Moray,  covering  his 
face  with  his  hands. 

*  lint,  my  dear  father,  what  ails  you?*  cried  I*aulette,   terrified. 

*  What  is  the  matter  ?  you  weep  !  and  you  turn  from  me  !  Oh,  my 
God  !  What  evil  can  roach  mo  now  / ' 

Paulette,  hearing  the  sobs  of  her  father,  had  separated  his 
hands,  with  which  he  hud  covered  his  face  to  hide  the  anguish  of 
his  mind. 

'  You  weep,  father,  you  weep  !  and  you  refuse  to  tell  me  the 
cause  of  your  tears.  But,  don't  you  know,  however  terrible  may 
be  the  secret,  which  you  dare  not  tell,  its  revelation  will  be  less 
painful  than  your  silence,  which  kills  me  ! ' 

And  she  had  knelt  before  him.  bogging  a  look,    a  word  only. 

'  Paulette,   my  darling,'  at  last  said  M.  do  Moray,  in   despair. 

*  You  must  gather  all  your  strength,  all  your  courage.' 

'My  courage  !  I  trust  I  shall  need  much,  if  I  judge  of  that  by 
the  courage  you  want.  And  still  1  ask  myself  what  evil  can  reach 
me,  when  I  am  here,  near  you,  and  that  in  a  very  few  moments  I 
shall  see  my  mother. ' 

*  Your  mother  ! '  answered  the  count,  dolefully.  *  Alas  !  you  will 
not  see  her  again  ! ' 

*  What  ?  She  is  out  ]  She  will  not  come  in  until  late  to-night  ; 

perhaps  not  till  to-morrow  ?  No You  do  not  answer  i  Not  even 

to-morrow  1  ' 

'  Not  even  to-morrow  ;  no  ! ' 

'  My  God  !  I  understand  that  she  may  hnve  absented  herself 
to-day  for  I  do  not  know  what  reason  you  will  not  tell  me,  since, 
in  my  joy,  I  did  not  let  you  know  the  precise  moment  of  my  ar- 


146  A   MARTYR. 

rival.  Hut  you  knew,  both  of  you,  that  I  should  be  here  within 
a  couple  of  days.  If  it  was  not  to-day  it  would  be  to-inornjw, 
or  the  day  after,  at  the  latest.  She  cannot  be  absent  very  long. 
What  !  you  are  silent  !  Oh  !  cruel  father  !  It  will  nut  even  be  in 
two  days  !  Ah  !  I  understand  !  since  you  do  not  answer,  it  is  be- 
cause my  mother  is  sick,  in  danger  of  death,  dead    perhaps  !' 

She  cried  with  distress  at  these  last  words,  and  nearly  fainted. 

'  No,  no  ! '  cried  M.  de  Moray,  supporting  her,  '  be  calm,  your 
mother  lives  ! ' 

'  Ah  ! '  said  the  child,  '  I  thought  I  was  going  to  die  ! ' 

'  Listen,  my  beloved,'  said  the  unhappy  man,  who  was  forced  at 
last  to  make  the  avowal  he  had  put  off  such  a  hmg  time.  'A  serious 
dissension  has  arisen  between  your  mother  and  myself  since  we  ar- 
rived in  Paris,  and  we  have  resolved  to  live  separated  from  each 
other. ' 

'  Sepi-rated  ?  '  cried  Paulette,  with  fright.  'But  it  is  impos- 
sible !  ' 

'  Still,  it  is  so.     Your  mother  does  not  live  in  this  house,  now.' 

The  child  got  up,  threw  her  hair  backwards,  with  the  gesture  of 
a  maniac  who  tries  to  understand  what  is  told  him,  and  does  not 
succeed. 

'  Let  us  see,'  she  said.  *  1  must  recall  what  you  have  just  said  : 
a  serious  dissension — a  separation  ;  that's  what  you  said.  You, 
who  loved  each  other  so  much,  who  lived  for  each  other,  and  thus 
united,  lived  for  me.  No  !  it  is  impossible  !  Tell  mo  it  is  only  a 
trial  ! 

A  smile  of  hope  flitted  across  her  features,  but  did  nut  last  long 
at  the  sight  of  her  father's  djirkened  face. 

*  Alas  i '  he  said,  '  it  is  only  too  true,  Paulette  !  ' 

'  Ah  !  why  was  wot  I  here  when  that  dissension  ai'ose  ?  such  a 
thing  never  would  have  happened,  I  am  sure.  But  now  I  have 
come  back,' she  said,  with  contidence,  '  and  thanks  to  my  presence, 
the  past  will  be  wiped  off,  the  abyss  lying  between  you  will  be 
tilled.  My  mother  will  return  and  I  shall  press  and  yourself  in 
my  arms  at  the  same  time.' 

'  Never  ! '  said  the  count.  '  What  you  say  is  impossible.  There 
is  a  wall  between  us  which  no  human  power  can  overthrow.' 

'  Ah  !  do  not  say  that,  no,  do  not  say  that  ! '  repeated  Paulette, 
with  vehemence,  'if  you  do  not  want  me  to  doubt  my  reason  or  the 
love  you  had  for  me  in  the  happier  days.  Ah  !  I  see  very  well  that 
I  am  speaking  to  a  father,  not  to  a  mother.  If  my  mother  were 
there  instead  of  you,  she  would  not  struggle  as  you  are  doing,  and 
whatever  motives  of  rancor  she  might  have  against  you,  she  would 
soon  forget  them,  leaving  to  my  love  the  task-of  obliterating  them.' 

Just  then  Maltar  appeared,  much  troubled. 

*  Master,'  he  said,  '  Mrae.  de  Moray  is  coming  here.' 
Paulette  cried  with  triumph. 


A   MARTYR.  147 

*  Ah  !  now,  did  you  tell  me  tho  truth  ? It  waa  only  a  trial, 

my  mother,  hero  she  comes I  shall  see  her  at   last  ?   Dear  mo- 

ther  ? ' 

Tlirough  the  heavy  draperies  could  bo  heard  a  woman's  voice,  yet 
indistinct,  giving  orders  to  a  servant,  and  her  footsteps  were  plainly 
a\idil)le. 

'  D>)  you  hoar  ?  '  said  Paulctte.  '  It  is  uiother  !  Here  she  is  com- 
ing ! ' 

'  Paulotte,'  again  said  M.  do  Moray,  trying  to  stop  her. 

lint  it  was  in  vain.  The  young  girl  rushed  to  the  door,  and  at 
tho  same  time  the  heavy  curtains  were  put  aside  and  a  woman  en- 
tered. This  woman,  whi>m  I^iulette  did  not  know,  was  the  person 
announced.  It  was  the  Ccumtess  do  Moray.  Only  it  was  not  the 
daughter  of  the  Admiral  Firmin  de  la  Marche  ;  it  was  Claudia 
Palmeri,  duchess  of  San  Lucca,  or  rather,  it  was  Gorgon. 

'  Ah  !  '  said  I'aulotte,  stopping  short,  '  1  beg  your  pardon,  Madam, 
1  did  not  know 1  misunderstood I  thought ' 

Then  turning  to  M>.itar,  who  was  terrified,  she  spoke  to  him  with 
reproach,  almost  with  anger. 

'  What  were  you  thinking  about  / '  she  asked.  *  You  said  :  Mme. 
de  Moray  is  coming  in.' 

The  Indian  remained  silent.  The  person  who  had  just  come  in, 
advanced  a  few  steps  and  answered  ; 

'  You  are,  1  suppose,  Mile,  de  Moray  ? ' 

Pauletto  nodded.     Claudia  coolly  continued  : 

*  Well,  miss,  you  are  wrong  in  abusing  Maltar  for  what  he  said. 
I  am  tho  Countess  do  Moray.' 

'  Tho  Countess  de  Moray  ! '  repeated  Paulette,  who  did  not  un- 
derstand, and  thought  she  was  some  distant  relative  she  was  not 
acquainted  with.     Claudia  noticed  her  niistake. 

'  Yes,'  she  continued.  '  I  am  the  Countess  de  Moray,  your 
father's  wife.' 

*  You  !  you  !  my  father's  wife  ! ' 

The  cry  of  Paulette  was  a  shriek  of  revolt  and  stupefaction.  The 
cliild  threw  herself  forward  as  if  to  snatch  from  that  woman  tho 
name  she  seemed  to  dishonor.     But  she  stopped  short,  terrified. 

'  Ah  ! '  she  cried,  as  recoiling  from  danger.  '  A  lunatic  /  she  is 
mad.     Take  care,  father,  she  is  mad  !  ' 

8he  rushed  into  her  father's  arms,  seeking  a  refuge  where  no 
danger  cuuld  reach  her. 

'  Roger,'  coolly  said  the  countess.  '  if  you  have  not  yet  told  the 
truth  to  your  child,  it  is  now  time  to  do  so.  Tell  her  that  I  am 
really  your  wife,  so  that  1  shall  not  have  to  bear  her  insults.' 

*  Father,'  shrieked  Paulette,  '  you  hear  !  she  dares  say  that  she 
is  the  Countess  de  Moray  and  that  you  are  her  husband  !  why  don't 
you  silence  her  ? ' 


148  A   MARTYR. 

M.  de  Moray  bowed  his  head  and  did  not  attempt  to  justify  him- 
self. 

'That  lady  spoke  the  truth,  Paulette,'  he  said  in  a  low  voice. 
*  She  is  the  Countess  de  Moray  ;  she  is  my  wife.' 

'  Your  wife  I  and  my  mother  then  !  what  is  she  ? '  cried  the  child 
with  an  angry  gesture. 

The  truth  could  not  be  c mcealed  any  longer,  and  each  word 
struck  like  a  dagger. 

'  Your  mother  ! '  repeated  the  count.  *  I  have  told  you  already 
that  we  are  separated.  Divorce  has  torn  asunder  the  ties  which 
united  us,  and  when  those  bonds  were  broken,  I  married  this  lady. 
Once  more  I  repeat  it,  she  is  the  Countess  de  Moray,  my  wife  ! ' 

This  thunderbolt,  instead  of  breaking  Paulette'a  spirits,  gave  her 
now  strength,  at  least  for  a  moment. 

'  Divorce  ! '  she  said  with  an  indignant  gesture.  '  What  offence 
have  you  been  guilty  of  that  she  should  thus  dc-sett  your  roof 
and  reject  your  name  ? ' 

Not  one  moment  did  the  child  hesitate,  with  the  instinct  of  love, 
with  the  just  knowledge  of  her  heart,  she  had  judged  that  her 
mother  was  stainless,  and  in  thus  taking  her  defence,  she  logically 
became  her  father's  accuser.  M.  de  Moray  understood  the  divine 
law  which  dictated  the  words  aimed  at  him  by  his  daughter.  He 
would  have  been  ashamed  to  tight  against  her  noble  sentiments,  al- 
tho\igh  he  thought  he  was  the  victim,  while  really  he  was  the  exe- 
cutioner, and  he  thought  to  himself. 

'  She  accuses  and  condemns  me  without  knowing  !  ' 

But  the  new  Countess  de  Moray  did  not  possess  that  supreme 
delicacy  of  sentiment. 

*  Why  don't  you  ask,'  she  said  to  Paulette  with  arrogance,  '  what 
fault  your  mother  has  been  guilty  of  to  be  repudiated  by  her  hus- 
band ? ' 

'  Repudiated  !  you  say  ! '  shrieked  Paulette,  indignantly.  '  My 
mother  guilty  !     It  is  a  lie  !  Madam  !  it  is  a  lie  ! ' 

*  Ah  !  it  is  thus  you  insult  me  ! '  said  Gorgon,  wounded  in  her 
pride.  *  I  was  prepared  to  receive  you  with  the  consideration, 
even  with  the  aflFection  I  owe  to  my  husband's  daughter,  and 
the  sincerity  of  my  welcome  constitutes  an  offence.  If  it  is  thus,  I 
shall  tell  you  the  truth  which  your  father  is  too  weak  to  confess. 
Know  then ' 

'  Claudia  ! '  interrupted  M.  de  Moray.  '  In  heaven's  name  be 
silent  ! ' 

And  drawing  near  his  wife,  he  said  in  a  low  voice  : 

*  I  implore  you  !  be  silent !  Even  at  the  expense  of  my  honor  ; 
even  if  1  am  accused  by  my  own  daughter,  l.do  not  want  to  impose 
on  her  the  sorrow  or  despising  her  mother  !  ' 

Paulette  did  not  hear  the  last  words  of  her  father,  but  she  guessed 


A   MARTYR.  149 

them  and  her  filial  love  revolted  against  the  protended  pity  which 
the  count  was  befjging  for  her. 

'  Come  now,'  alio  said  to  the  Italian,  '  why  don't  you  speak  ? 
you  must  tell  me  what  you  accuse  my  mother  of  !  If,  however, 
you  persist  in  your  refusal  to  spe.ak,  it  is  because  your  accusations 
are  nothing  but  lies  and  cowardly  calumnies  1 ' 

(xorgon,  thus  chastised,  was  preparing  to  say  the  words  : 

*  Your  mother  had  a  lover  whom  her  husband  killed,'  when  M. 
de  Moray  intervened,  speaking  with  the  authority  that  his  double 
title  of  father  and  husband  gave  him. 

*  And  I  exact  that  nothing  more  be  said,  neither  by  you,  Paulette, 
nor  by  you,  Claudia.     I  order  both  of  you  to  be  silent  ! ' 

And  turning  to  Paulette  : 

'  Listen,  my  child.  God  knows  that  I  deplore  this  painful  scene. 
I  had  the  right  to  think  that  you  were  acquainted  with  the  sad 
events  of  the  past.  Then,  prepared  to  learn  the  worst,  you  would 
have  understood  the  duties  imposed  on  you  by  the  new  state  of 
things.  Think  of  this,  Paulette  !  It  is  an  impious  daughter  that 
constitutes  herself  judge  between  her  father  and  mother.  She  cannot 
think  one  is  innocent  without  condemning  the  other.  Do  not  at- 
tempt to  find  out,  and  keep  for  the  two  beings  who  have  loved  you 
so  tenderly  since  your  birth,  the  respect  which  God  commands.  So 
then  you  will  ask  no  questions,  you  will  not  accuse,  and  you  will 
not  defend.     I  have  your  word,  have  I  not  ? ' 

The  child  hesitated  a  moment, 

'  You  have  my  word,'  she  said  at  last,  and  she  started  to  go. 

'  Where  are  you  going  ?'  asked  M.  de  Moray,  astonished. 

'  To  see  my  mother  and  live  with  her.' 

'  Stay,'  said  M.  de  Moray,  '  that  is  impossible  ! ' 

There  are  in  the  battles  of  life  moments  when  all  notions  of  dan- 
ger and  the  just  extent  of  his  weakness  escape  the  combatant. 
After  a  violent  emotion,  he  does  not  compare  his  forces  with  those 
of  his  adversary,  and  he  fights  for  the  sake  of  fighting,  without  hope 
of  gaining  the  battle,  without  feai*  of  being  defeated.  Paulette  felt 
that  sentiment.  Her  father's  will  was  erecting  a  wall  between  her- 
self and  her  mother.  She  rushed  against  that  wall.  For  the  first 
time  in  her  life  she  rebelled  against  paternal  authority.  M.  de 
Moray  had  forbidden  her  to  go  and  see  her  mother,  she  would  not 
obey. 

*  Ah  ! '  she  cried,  '  what  you  ask  is  cruel.  I  must  know  nothing 
of  the  past,  you  say  1  You  are  right.  And  now  I  ask  nothing. 
But  you  have  a  new  family.  You  are  surrounded  with  love  and 
tender  cares,  while  my  mother  is  alone  and  doubtless  dying  slowly 
with  grief.  Don't  you  see  that  I  am  right  and  that  you  cannot 
prevent  me  from  seeing  my  mother.' 


150  A    MARTYR. 

She  had  spoken  with  anger.  The  c'lild's  voice  usually  so  sweet, 
was  bitter  and  pricked  the  father's  heart  like  a  spur.  He  felt 
wounded  to  the  quick,  and  at  the  same  time  he  wished  to  press  the 
courageous  child  to  his  heart,  in  saying  to  her  :  '  You  are  right  ! 
you  belong  to  the  more  unhappy  '  but  if  he  had  ?aid  the  last  words, 
perhaps  he  would  have  added,  in  spite  «)f  himself  :  '  It  is  for  that 
very  reason  that  f  beg  of  you  to  stay,  because,  now  that  I  have 
seen  you,  now  that  through  you,  the  ghost  of  the  past  has  appeared 
before  me,  the  most  uidiappy  is  the  one  who  is  not  free  to  cry  ! ' 
He  was  prudent  enough  to  remain  on  neutral  grounds  and  to  con- 
sign himself  to  the  cold  facts. 

*  A  superior  aiitliority,'  he  saitl,  trying  to  be  calm,  '  has  decided 
on  your  fate.  The  law  has  entrusted  the  care  of  your  h<mor  to  your 
father.' 

In  her  ignorance.  Paulette  did  not  understand  the  full  meaning 
of  these  words.  If  she  had  known  the  law,  it  would  have  been 
clear  to  her  mind  that  justice,  in  pronouncing  the  divorce,  had 
thrown  all  the  guilt  on  the  wife.  And  she  would  have  suffered  in- 
tensely.    But  this  was  spared  to  her.     Happily  she  did  not  know. 

'  Justice,'  she  said,  '  has  entrusted  you  with  the  care  of  my  honor. 
It  must  be  i  ight.  Being  the  man  you  are  the  stronger.  But  what 
right  has  justice  to  dispose  of  my  heart  /  Did  it  decide  to  whom  I 
shall  give  my  love.' 

This  was  tii    most  cruel  blow  to  M.  de  Moray. 

'Cruel  chilli  I'  he  said.  'Since  you  ask  me  such  a  question,  it 
is  because  you  have  already  answered  it.  You  have  made  this  divi- 
sion of  your  love,  which  the  law  dared  not  do,  in  a  moment  ;  if  wo 
can  call  divisicm  the  abandonment  of  your  whole  heart  to  the  profit 
of  one  !  ' 

Paulette  took  pity  on  him. 

'  No  !'  she  said  softly,  'do  not  accuse  mo  of  having  lost  my  love 
for  you.  It  has  not  diminished.  Only  the  tenderness  I  felt  for  my 
mother  has  increased  to  the  extent  of  her  sulTerings. ' 

The  count  listened  to  his  daughter's  words  with  rapture,  but  still 
he  could  not  yield  to  her  demand. 

'Listen,  Paulette!'  he  said.  '  I  have  already  told  you  that  I 
could  not  tell  you  the  cause  of  our  separation,  but  I  have  told  you 
that  the  law  has  decided  that  you  belong  to  me  only.  We  must 
respect  the  decision  of  the  law,  and  I  have  neither  the  pow  r  nor 
the  will  to  change  the  decisiiui.  However,  what  I  cannot  do,  others 
may  help  you  to  accomplish.  To-morrow  you  shall  visit  your  grand- 
parents, and  the  Admiral  and  Mme.  de  La  Marche  will  decide 
whether  or  not  they  can  allow  their  grand-daughter  to  meet  their 
own  daughter." 

This  promise  soothed  the  brave  girl.  •  It  was  false,  however, 
for  M.  de  Moray  well  knew  that  the  merciless  honor  of  the  old  sailor 


A   MARTYR.  151 

had  (lug  an  abyss  between  his  daughter  and  hiniaelf.  But  Pauletto 
was  not  aware  of  this  increase  of  misery  lieaped  on  her  niother,  and 
shw  thanked  her  father  with  a  kiss. 

Perhaps  the  reader  has  forgotten  that  dniin'^  this  (Muotioiuil  soeno, 
a  third  perpon  was  in  the  room.  Wo  speak  of  the  Countess  d<» 
Moray.  After  the  first  explanation  between  PauU'tte  and  lierself, 
she  had  said  nothing,  because  she  understood  that  any  intervention 
on  her  part  would  only  spur  the  young  girl  on  in  her  desperate 
resistance,  and  she  admired  her  bravery.  However,  she  wanted  to 
see  the  end  of  the  debate,  and  she  silently  sat  down  in  the  chimney 
corner.  In  their  animatitm  the  count  and  his  daughter  had  forgot- 
ten her  pre'c  nee.  M.  de  Moray  had  just  remembori-d  it,  and  felt 
much  embarrassed  when  a  fourth  person  brought  him  unexpected 
help.  It  was  Annibal  Palmcri.  Having  bowed  to  P.uilette,  of 
whose  arrival  he  was  aware,  the  Neapolitan  moved  towards  his  sister 
and  shook  her  hand. 

'  She  is  his  da\ighter,'  she  said  in  a  low  voice.  *  What  do  you 
think  of  her.' 

'  She  is  a  thousand  times  more  charming  than  the  cold  imago  I 
have  seen.' 

*  'I'ake  ca-e  !  she  is  already  an  enemy  ! ' 

*  Bast  !  don't  bother.  I  don't  know  if  she  will  ever  be  a  friend, 
but  she  mu  t  become  an  allv,  when  she  will  be  my  wife.' 

'  Alway-i  that  folly,  then  ?" 

*  Now  more  than  ever. ' 

During  their  collo(|uy  the  count  had  explained  to  his  daughter 
that  they  were  brother  and  sister. 

'  The  situation  cannot  be  changed,'  he  said  in  a  low  voice,  '  ami 
any  attempt  to  create  .strife  in  this  house  would  force  me  to  take 
back  the  promise  I  have  just  made.  Whoever  I  may  present  to  yon, 
be  courageous  and  strons/.' 

'  I  will  be,'  she  answered  firmly,  '  since  it  is  at  that  price  that  I 
can  hope  to  see  my  mother  again.' 

'  My  dear  Palmeri,'  said  the  count. 

Annibal  drew  near. 

'  Paulette,'  continued  M.  de  Moray,  '  this  gentleman  is  M. 
Annibal  Palmeri,  the  brother  of  n)y  — ^  ' 

He  did  not  dare  to  say — my  wife. 

'  The  brother  of  Mme.  de  Moray.  And  to  you,M.  Palmeri.  I 
present  my  daughter.' 

The  Italian  saluted  Paulette,  who  bowed  to  him  as  she  would 
have  done  to  a  stranger  she  was  not  going  to  see  again.  Still  there 
was  an  effort  of  good-will  in  that  a'-i-^n  for  which  her  father  was 
grateful.  Nothing  more  would  have  happened  had  not  Claudia  been 
willingly  imprudent.  The  pride  of  the  beautiful  woman  was  not 
satisfied  with  the  semblance  of  submission  which  the  count  had  ob- 


152  A    MARTYU. 

tained  from  Paulotto,  and  she  wanted  at  the  very  outset,  to  have 
all  the  persons  who  wore  to  live  together  in  this  great  house  put  in 
their  proper  places.     She  said  to  her  brother : 

'  M.  de  Moray  has  said  his  daughter.  If  Miss  Paulette  consents, 
I  shall  say  our  daughter. ' 

A  motion  of  revolt  met  those  words.  Even  if  her  mother  had  been 
dead.  Even  if  her  father  had  married  again,  Paulette  would 
never  have  allowed  any  woman  to  take  the  sweet  name  which  M. 
de  Moray's  first  wife  would  have  carried  with  her  to  her  grave. 
But  this  was  worse.  Her  mother  was  living,  and  she  was  suffering, 
and  she  was  weeping  !  And  a  woman,  a  stranger,  dared  to  claim  a 
title  which  was  not  vacant.  It  was  worse  than  robbery,  it  was 
sacrilege  !     She  would  never  be  an  accomplice  through  weakness. 

'  Your  daughter  ! '  she  said.  '  No,  Madam,  no  !  Never  call  me 
by  that  name,  because  I  would  not  think  you  were  speaking  to  me, 
and  I  would  not  answer.' 

'  Ah  ! '  shrieked  Claudia,  pale  with  anger. 

*  I  still  have  a  mother,  Madam,'  continued  the  child,  provocating 
and  disdainful,  *  and  I  keep  for  her  all  my  respect,  all  my  tender- 
ness, and  I  have  none  for  anybody  else  ! ' 

*  M.  de  Moray,'  said  the  countess  to  her  husband,  '  will  you 
allow  your  wife  to  be  thus  insulted,  when  the  only  fault  she  has 
committed  was  to  open  her  heart  too  large  to  the  child  you 
love  ? ' 

Mme.  de  Moray  was  in  the  right,  and  the  count  could  not  deny 
her  his  protection.  However,  his  daughter's  words  had  moved  him 
to  his  very  heart. 

'  There  must  be  an  end  to  this  painful  debate,'  he  said  with  a 
firmness  he  did  not  feel.  '  I  shall  judge  of  your  affection  by  the  care 
each  of  you  will  take  not  to  provoke  such  scenes  again.  Claudia, 
you  shall  be  respected,  but  unfortunately  I  can  only  promise  my 
daughter's  respect,  [  cannot  dispose  of  her  affection.  As  to  you, 
Paulette,  go  to  your  room  and  await  my  orders.' 

Paulette  stepped  backwards,  and  without  bidding  her  father  the 
tender  farewell  he  seemed  to  expect,  swept  out  of  the  room.  Mme. 
de  Moray  went  to  her  room,  still  irritated  by  the  wound  she  had 
received.  Before  going,  Palmeri  negligently  handed  a  letter  to  the 
count. 

'  Ah  ! '  he  said,  *  I  was  forgetting  to  give  this  letter.' 

M.  de  Moray  looked  at  the  envelope.  It  was  from  Marseilles. 
He  tore  the  letter  open,  and  nearly  fainted. 

'  Ah  ! '  he  said. 

*  What  is  the  matter  ? ' 

*  Read  for  yourself.  The  Indo-Marseillaise  Bank  has  suspended 
its  payments.  Its  assets  amount  to  nothing.  The  funds  I  depended 
upon  to  pay  the  shareholders  of  the  mine  of  the  Rio-Negro  were 
deposited  there  !     I  am  lost  ! ' 


A   MARTYR.  loH 


IV 


Annibal  Palmeri  knew  what  he  was  doing  in  handing  that,  letter 
to  M.  de  Moray.  It  contained  the  confirmation  of  a  telegram  he 
had  read  the  day  before.  It  advised  the  count  of  the  faihire  of  the 
Indo-Maraeillaise,  and  the  news    fell  upon  him  like  a  thunderbolt. 

'  Yes,  1  am  lost  ! '  he  repeated,  walking  to  and  fro. 

He  stopped  in  front  of  Palmeri,  who  seemed  to  be  much  sur- 
prised and  affected  by  the  news   he   h;  d  learnt  the  evening  before. 

'  You  remember,'  the  count  said,  '  that  a  few  hours  ago  I  met  the 
General  de  Saint  Rony  and  the  Marquis  de  Sistenay,  and  we  agreed 
to  reimburse  the  shareholders  of  the  llio-Negro.  For  my  part  I  de- 
pended upon  the  Indo- Marseillaise,  and,  as  the  bank  has  failed,  I 
am  dishonored.' 

*  I  beg  your  pardon,'  said  Annibal.  *  You  forget  what  I  was  toll- 
ing you  this  morning.  You  forget  that  I  asked  the  hand  of  your 
daughter.  I  had  not  then  seen  Miss  Paulette.  Now  that  I  have 
had  the  pleasure  of  meeting  her,  the  feeling  I  experienced  towards 
her  has  been  intensified,  and  1  could  hardly  renounce  her  hand. 

'  But  this  marriage,  which  would  give  my  daughter  a  large  for- 
tune, would  not  give  me  my  honor.' 

*  You  do  not  understand,'  said  the  Italian,  or  rather  you  do  not 
wish  to  understand.  In  marrying  Miss  Paulette,  I  wotild  become 
your  son-in-law,  and  you  could  not  prevent  me  from  offering  you 
the  help  you  need  in  this  crisis,  and  this  name  of  son,  I  repeat,  I 
should  be  happy  and  proud  to  wear.' 

M.  de  Moray  was  deeply  moved  by  his  insistance. 

'  Thank  you,'  he  said  giving  his  hand  to  Annibal.  '  Whatever 
comes,  I  shall  never  forget  the  words  you  have  just  spoken.  But 
even  admitting  that  I  had  the  desire  to  accept  these  unexpected 
propositions,  what  has  happened  in  your  presence  must  convince 
you  that  your  dream  cannot  be  realized. ' 

'Why?' 

*  You  have  been  a  witness  of  the  revolt  of  Paulette  at  the  pre- 
sence of  another  woman  than  her  mother  in  this  house.  I  had  fore- 
seen the  existence  of  this  sentiment  this  morning,  but  it  has  ex- 
ceeded my  fears.  It  is  not  only  a  feeling  of  antipathy  which  Pau- 
lette experiences  for  those  who  live  in  this  house^ ' 

'  It  is  one  of  hatred,'  said  Annibal.  '  But  when  your  daughter 
becomes  acquainted  with  the  offer  I  have  just  made  ,  when  she 
knows  that  in  giving  me  her  hand,  she  will  spare  her  father  the 
shame  of  a  judgment,  her  consent  will  be  assured,  and  provided 
the  marriage  takes  place  within  one  month,  that  is  to  say,  before 
the  general  meeting  of  the  Rio-Negro,  all  the  shareholders  will  be 
J 


l.')^  A   MARTYR. 

indemnified  by  your  notary,  to  whoni  I  shall  give,  on  signing  the 
contract,  the  sum  necessary  to  save  your  honor.' 

*  Very  well  ! '  said  M.  de  Moray,  '  1  accept  the  barf,'ain  Which 
you  propose,  but  I  will  not  hind  myself,  however,  to  use  coercion 
towards  my  dauf^hter.     1  shall  not  do  violence  to  her  wishes.' 

'  It  is  agreed,'  said  Annibal. 

The  two  men  shook  hands  and  parted.  We  have  already  said, 
that  the  J^eapolitan  adventurer  was  not  a  bad  man  at  the  bottom, 
BO  it  was  with  entire  good  faith  that  he  said  to  himself,  on  his  way 
to  his  room  : 

*It  is  lucky  for  the  great  lord,  who  calls  himself  the  Count  do 
Moray,  that  a  mean  Italian  civil  service  employee,  the  son  of  a  bal- 
let girl,  has  had  the  idea  to  personate  this  Annibal  Palmeri.  With- 
out me  the  count  had  no  other  resource  than  to  blow  out  his  br  lins. ' 

On  the  same  day,  about  six  o'clock  in  the  evening,  Maltar  went 
to  the  Hotel  du  Louvre  and  asked  at  the  oflice  the  number  of  the 
room  occupied  by  a  traveller  who  had  arrived  in  the  afternoon,  and 
whose  name  was  Mr.  Drack.  Every  day  people  of  all  nations  can 
be  seen  at  the  hotel,  but  the  peculiar  costume  of  the  Indian  pro- 
voked the  curiosity  of  the  servants.  They  even  mistook  him  for 
some  rajah's  son,  and  led  him,  with  deep  marks  of  respect,  to  the 
room  occupied  by  the  English  traveller.  Maltar  saw  the  error,  but 
Baid  nothing,  saying  to  himself  that  if  he  had  given  his  right  title 
he  might  have  been  told  that  Mr.  Drack  was  out. 

'His  Excellency  Prince  Maltar  wishes  to  see  you,  sir,'  said  the 
porter,  who  had  followed  the  Indian  to  the  third  story. 

*  There  is  a  prince  wishing  to  see  me  ?  '  answered  the  traveller, 
v^y  much  astonished.    '  And  you  say  his  name  is  ? ' 

'Maltar.' 

'  Maltar  !     I  have  a  vague  idea  that  I  have  heard  that  name  be- 
fore, but  the  devil  take  me,  if  1  can  remember  where.' 
'  His  Excellency  wears  an  Indian  costume.' 

*  Oh,  all  right  !  '  said  Mr.  Drack,  smiling,  who  knew  then  who  the 
prince  was.  '  Well  show  his  excellency  in,  since  he  is  an  excel- 
lency. ' 

A  moment  later  Maltar  and  Mr.  Drack  were  alone.  The  Indian, 
with  his  arms  crossed,  lowered  his  head,  waiting  to  be  allowed  to 
speak.  Seeing  him  so  humble  Mr.  Drack  understood  that  if  the 
good  fellow  sutlered  himself  to  be  called  a  prince,  it  was  with  a  good 
intention. 

'  So  you  are  Maltar  ? '  said  the  Englishman,  *  and  you  are  one  of 
the  Count  de  Moray's  servants  ?  I  remember  you  now.  You  re- 
ceived me  this  morning  on  Varennes  street.-  Have  you  something 
to  tell  me  ? ' 

*  Yes,  master '  softly  answered  Maltar. 

*  Has  Miss  Paulette  sent  you  ?   Is  she  sick  ? ' 
'Sick?    No.' 


A  MARTYR.  155 

*  Oh  !  so  much  the  better, 'said  Mr.  Drack  with  a  aigh  of  relief. 
And  ho  added,  as  if  ashamed  of  this  kindly  feeling. 

'  Indeed  !  I  do  not  know  why  I  asked  you  that  question.  I 
hardly  know  Miss  Paulette.  She  is  neither  my  sister  nor  my 
daughter.  If  a  fellow  were  to  trouble  himself  about  every  little  girl 
who  may  be  thrown  on  his  care,  under  the  pretence  that  she  has 
crossed  the  ocean  with  him,  or  because  he  happened  to  tiih  her  out 
of  the  sea,  as  any  one  else  would  have  done,  there  would  be  no  end 
to  the  bother.  So,  then,  everything  passed  oflF  smoothly  at  the 
count's  house  after  my  departure  1 '  continued  the  good  man,  un- 
able to  conceal  any  longer  his  kind  feelings  under  the  mask  of  . 
egotism.  '  Well  I  it  is  very  kind  of  Miss  Paulette  to  lot  me  know 
of  it,  because  I  must  tell  yo\i  that  I  was  somewhat  anxious, ' 

'  Miss  Paulette  did  not  send  me,'  said  the  Indian. 

'  But  then ' 

'  And  everything  did  not  pass  off  smothly  at  the  house. 

'  The  devil  !  Then  explain  what  brings  you  here,  and  tell  me 
who  sends  you,  because  I  cannot  guess.' 

Maltar  narrated  the  scenes  which  had  been  enacted  at  the  Count 
de  Moray's  house.  He  had  been  present  at  some  ;  others  he  had 
guessed,  and  finally  his  young  mintress,  still  vibrating  with  anger 
and  despair,  had  repeated  to  him  tho  offers  of  friendship  which  had 
been  made  to  her  by  the  new  wife  of  her  father. 

'  The  young  mistress  is  very  unhappy,'  continued  the  Indian, 
'  but  she  is  not  the  only  one  to  suffer,  and  there  is  a  person  who  is 
still  more  unhappy  than  her. 

'By  jovel  I  should  think  so!'  cried  Mr.  Drack  with  a  comical 
anger,  turning  around  to  dry  a  big  tear*  which  Maltar's  story  had 
brought  to  his  eyes,  '  and  that  person  is  myself.  Did  you  ever  ? 
-  the  idea  ! — to  invade  a  traveller's  room  when  he  is  busy  unpack- 
ing his  traps,  and  tell  him  stories  about  all  kinds  of  people  he  does 
not  care  for,  but  which  irritate  his  nerves.  If  it  happens  again,  you 
confounded  counterfeit  prince,  I  shall  have  you   kicked  out.     You 

know somebody  more   unhappy  than  poor  little  Paulette,'  he 

kept   on  muttering  between  his  teeth  ;  *  the  person  you  speak  of 
must  be  devilish  wretched.     And  you  say  that  person  is  ? ' 

'The  mother  of  the  young  mistress,' said  the  Indian,  who  had 
kept  still  during  all  this  time,  waiting  for  a  return  of  the  kindly 
feelings  of  the  old  gentleman,  '  the  first  wife  of  the  Count  de  Moray. 
She  is  not  aware  of  her  daughter's  arrival,  sir,  and  she  does  not 
know  that  her  husband  will  not  allow  Miss  Paulette  to  see  her.' 

*  What ! '  cried  Mr.  Drack.  '  You  say  that  Paulette  will  not  ba 
allowed  to  see  her  mother  1    But  that  is  atrocious  ! ' 

'  Yes,  it  is  atrocious  ! '  continued  Maltar.  '  That  poor  mother 
awaits  her  child's  arrival  every  day,  every  hour,  and  she  has  gath- 
ered all  her  love,  all  her  tenderness,  for  their  first  meeting.     Poor 


156  A   MAIITVR. 

woman  !    What  will  become  of  her  when  I  tell  her  that  she  will 
not  see  her  daughter?    She  might  die  with  Borrow  !  ' 

*  Die  !  twenty-four  hours'  delay  will  not  kill  her  !  If  she  does 
not  see  her  to-day,  she  will  see  her  to-inorrowr.' 

'  No,  neither  to-day  nor  to-morrow  !     Never  ! ' 
'  How  do  you  know  ?  * 

*  After  one  hour's  rest,  which  she  needed  ba  lly,  the  young  mis- 
tress sent  me  to  her  father  with  a  letter,  asking  liitn  permission  to 
visit  her  grandfather,  M.  Firmin  de  la  Marcho,  whore  she  thought 
she  would  meet  her  mother.  Perhaps  M.  de  Moray  would  have 
consented,  but  the  new  countess,  who  was  then  with  him,  would 
not  allow  it.' 

'  By  what  right  ? '  asked  Mr.  Drack,  with  indignation,  *  and 
why?' 

'  Mme.  de  Moray  said  Miss  Paulotte  should  not  be  allowed  to  see 
her  mother,  and  even  then  only  very  seldom,  until  she  had  re- 
pented of  what  she  had  laid,  and  wlien  she  would  consent  to  ex- 
hibit to  her  the  respect  and  the  appearances  of  affection  which  she 
owed  to  the  wife  of  her  father. ' 

'  Ah,  ah  !  This  would  seem  to  me  exceedingly  ridiculous,  if  I 
cared  at  all  about  all  these  things,'  growled  Mr.  Prack,  upsetting 
all  his  toilet  articles,  which  ho  had  just  put  in  order  with  great 
care,  '  and  you  have  repeated  that  to  the  child  ?  You  have  been 
barbarous  enough  to  do  that,  and  you  pretend  to  love  Paulette  1 ' 

*  I  had  to.     It  was  the  master's  order.' 

'  And  what  did  she  say.     1  will  wager  that  she  started  to  cry.' 
'  No  !  on  the  contrary.' 

*  What  !  she  laughed  ? '     • 

*  Yes  !  But  then  her  laugh  was  strange  and  almost  threatening. 
"  Then  I  would  rather  never  see  my  mother  again,"  she  cried,  "  If 
I  have  to  pay  each  one  of  her  kisses  with  a  cowardice  and  baseness. 
Do  not  trouble  yourself  about  me,  Maltar,  A  day  will  come,  sooner 
than  ycni  think,  when  my  mother  will  be  allowed  to  come  and  kiss 
me.  It  will  be  the  day  when  she  will  press  her  lips  to  the  forehead 
of  her  dead  daughter  !  "  ' 

'  But,  by  the  heavens  !  why  do  you  tell  me  all  this  ?  '  said  Mr. 
Drack,  with  a  gesture  of  sorrow.  '  Can  I  do  anything  /  Is  there 
any  sense  in  tormenting  one  with  such  stories  which  do  noi  con- 
cern me  at  all  ? ' 

^  I  have  come  to  tell  you  all  this,'  softly  answered  the  Indian, 
*  because  you  must  come  with  me. ' 

'  I  ?  with  you  ?  where  ?     To  Paulette's  ? ' 

*  No,  to  her  mother's. ' 

The  Englishman  jumped  up. 

*  Never  ! '  he  said.  '  1  have  enough  of  this  family  of  M.  de 
Moray  !     What  am  I  saying  I     Enough       Forsooth  !     I  have  too 


A  MARTYR.  157 

much  of  it.  I  wotild  rather  ho  quartered  than  bo  mixed  any  more 
witli  all  those  Htorios.  And  what  do  you  want  mo  to  j^o  there  for  i 
If  I  follow  you,  I  must  know,  at  least,  what  to  say.' 

As  usual,  after  having  raged  and  stormed,  the  excellent  man  was 
ready  to  do  anything. 

'  You  will  ac<(uaint  the  mother  of  the  young  mistress  with  what  I 
have  told  you.'  # 

*  Couldn't  you  do  it  yourself,  by  chance  ? ' 

*  Yea  ;  luit  I  cannot  tell  her  anything  about  the  voyage  you  have 
made  with  Miss  Paulette  ;  I  could  not  repeat  to  her  what  the  young 
mistress  has  told  you  during  the  journey.  Listen  !  I  am  (luite  sure 
she  was  always  talking  of  her  niother.' 

*  Indeed  !  she  talked  of  nothing  else.' 

*  She  t(dd  you  of  the  joy  she  felt  at  the  idea  of  meeting  her,  and 
how  surprised  she  would  be.' 

'  It  was  a  fixed  idea  with  her.' 

'  And  she  made  you  the  confident  of  all  her  projects  ;  of  all  her 
hopes. ' 

'  Why  she  even  told  me  all  about  a  nice  young  man  she  expects 
to  marry,  and  whom  she  loves  dearly.' 

*  (ireat  heavens  !  '  cried  the  Indian,  astounded.  '  Miss  Paulotto 
loves  a  young  man  /  You  are  quite  certain  of  that  i' 

'  More  80  than  I  am  of  my  existence  which,  I  commence  to 
think,  is  very  much  C()mj)r(jmi8ed  by  the  emotions  cauf^ed  by  all  this 
confounded  business.  Hut  what  difference  does  it  make  that  Miss 
Paulette  should  love  somebody  in  Pondichdry  V 

'  Because,  if  I  understood  a  few  words  I  heard  between  my  mus- 
ter and  another  person,  M.  do  Moray  has  already  disposed  of  th« 
hand  of  his  daughter. ' 

'  Well,  that  beats  all.  And  in  whose  favor  has  ho  disposed  of 
his  daughter's  hand  without  consultiug  her  ? ' 

'  In  favor  of  M.  Palmeri,  the  brother  of  his  new  wife.' 

'  Palmeri  ? '  said  the  Englishman.  '  Where  the  devil  did  I  hear 
that  name  1  Bah,  no  matter  !  Well,  since  you  must  have  it  so, 
let  na  go  and  see  the  Countess  do  Moray.' 

While  Mr.  Drack  was  methodically  closing  his  toilet-case,  Mal- 
tar  seized  the  skirt  of  his  coat  and  was  kissing  it  as  a  token  of  gra- 
titude. The  two  conspirators,  because  they  were  nothing  else,  took 
a  carriage  on  the  street  to  go  to  Mme.  do  Moray's  house.  Maltar, 
out  of  respect,  wanted  to  sit  beside  the  driver,  but  Mr.  Drack 
pushed  him  inside  the  coupe,  feigning  to  offer  him  the  most  humble 
attentions. 

'  You  forget  that  you  are  a  princely  excellency,'  observed  the 
Englishman.     '  Be  careful  not  to  lose  your  prestige.' 

The  distance  seemed  short  to  them.  Absorbed  in  the  emotions 
which  they  expected  to  arise  out  of  their  interview  with  the  un- 


168  A  MARTYR. 

happy  woman,  they  were  at  her  door  before  they  had  thought  of  it, 

'  Oo  up  first  and  announce  me,'  said  Mr.  Drack. 

'  No.     Conio  up  with  me.     Onlj'  you  will  wait  in  the  ante-cham- 
ber, and  1  will  call  you  when  it  is  time.' 

The  aervant  girl  whoanawereo  the  ring  of  the  bell,  welcomed  the 
Indian.  He  was,  in  fact,  the  only  human  being  Mme.  de  Moray 
hiid  Been  since  she  lived  in  that  house,  like  a  recluse.  Maltar  visit- 
ed her  frtMjuontly,  unknown  to  M.  do  Moray.  He  had  tried  every- 
thing which  the  generosity  of  his  heart  could  invent  to  relieve  the 
sufferings  of  his  njistress.  He  had  even  the  courage  to  present  him- 
self at  the  house  of  Admiral  Firmin  de  la  Marche  to  acijuaint  him 
with  the  gravity  of  the  state  of  his  daughter,  and  to  supplicate  him 
to  bo  less  severe  toward  his  daughter,  at  l»mst  for  a  few  days.  Tlie 
old  sailor  had  stopped  him  as  soon  as  he  understood  the  object  of 
liis  errand.  In  his  prodigious  stitbbornness  with  regard  to  his 
honor,  M.  do  la  Marche  could  have  seen  his  own  daughter  exposed 
to  the  most  cruel  and  imminent  danger  without  lifting  a  ii.iti^er  to 
help  her  out  of  it.  Shocked  by  this  inexorable  severity,  Maltar 
was  constantly  near  his  mistress  ;  he  not  only  visited  her  house  now 
and  then,  but  he  had  pasHed  every  night  there  as  long  as  there  was 
danger.  After  he  had  finished  his  service  at  M.  de  Moray's,  he 
would  come  and  do  the  work  of  a  nurse,  or  rather  of  a  sister  of 
charity,  at  the  bed-side  of  the  unhappy  woman,  who  had  at  least, 
in  her  delirious  dreams,  the  illusion  of  thinking  herself  still  at 
P<mdich6ry,  in  the  happy  time  when  loving  affections  surrounded  her. 
During  Maltar's  watch  the  servant  rested  and  gathered  strength  for 
the  next  day's  work.  When  the  poor  martyr  felt  better,  the  Indian 
came  less  often,  because  M.  de  Moray  might  learn  of  his  visits  and 
forbid  theiu.  But  he  soon  discovered  that  his  presence  was  the 
only  relief  to  the  sufferings  of  her  whom  he  had  never  looked  upon 
as  Ltuilty  :  even  if  he  had  thought  so,  he  would  have  pitied  her  and 
cared  for  her  with  the  same  devotion.  This  wa3  the  reason  which 
had  led  him  two  or  three  days  before  to  leave  the  house  of  the 
Count  de  Moray,  in  ordor  to  devote  himself  entirely  to  the  service 
of  his  benefactress. 

The  reader  will  remember  the  scene  when  M.  de  Moray  asked  the 
faithful  servant  to  remain  in  the  old  house  on  Varennes  street,  in- 
voking him  lo  remain  in  the  name  of  Paulette,  who  was  to  arrive 
shortly,  and  who  would  want  to  find  some  one  near  her  to  whom 
eho  could  speak  of  her  mother.  Between  the  two  duties  thus  pre- 
sented to  him,  Maltar  had  chosen  the  one  he  thought  most  sacred. 
The  young  mistress  would  suffer  so  much  among  these  strangers  ! 
She  would  find  herself  so  far  from  any  sincere  affection  !  and  then 
she  was  not  used  to  sorrow,  while  her  mother  was.  He  had  pro- 
mised M.  de  Moray  that  ho  would  remain  at  his  post.  But  he  had 
not  made  this  promise  without  restrictions.     He  would  always  be 


A   MAUTVn.  15!) 

at  liberty  to  chan^e*hiH  decision,  if  Paulette  shoiiM  become  reAi^nod 
to  liur  new  situation.     Then,  l)reuliing  every  tie,  he  would  duvolo 
his  whole  life  to  her  who  would  not  and  could  not  bu   coniforted. 
The  i)roud  revolt  of  I'aulette  when  she  hoard  i\w  turrible  rovolations 
which  she  should  have  known  before,  proved  t()the  Indiun  the  pru- 
dence of  his  conduct,  and  he  congratulated  himself  on  the  choice  he 
had  made  between  the  two  duties  which  wo   have  ju.nt   nu  ntioned. 
As  it  had  been  decided,  Maltar  went  to  Mme.  do  Mora> 's  room 
alone.     Wo  still  give  her  that  name,  as  the  Indian  does,  in  spite  of 
tlie  sorrowful  protestations  of   Laura.     It   was  night,  and  a  wax 
candle  lighted  the  parlor.  The  poor  martyr,  8oiito<l  in  an  arm-cliair, 
remained  inactive;  she  had  nothing  to  occupy  her  mind,  except  to 
recall  the  remembrances  of  the  past.     When  she  heard  the  voice  of 
her  friend,  that  wum  the  name  she  gave  him,  and  it  tilled  him  with 
deep  gratitude,  she  lifted  her  head. 

*  I  did  not  think  I  would  see  you  to-day,'  sho  said.  '  I  had  un- 
derstood that  you  had  announced  your  visit  only  for  to-morrow 
night. ' 

Sho  gave  him  her  hand,  which  ho  pressed  to  his  lips. 
'  What  brings  you,  then  I  Alas  !    I  need  not  ask  !  because  you 
cannot  but  bring  tales  of  sorrow.' 

*  Mistress,'  Multar  said,  slowly,  because  ho  understood  the  neces- 
sity of  not  jarring  the  nerves  of  the  poor  lady,  '  to-day  we  had 
news  from  the  young  mistress.' 

Laura  got  u[),  as  if  moved  by  a  spring.  She  placed  her  hand 
upon  her  heart,  which  was  beating  as  if  it  was  going  to  break. 

*  Ah  !  *  sho  said,  with  a  faltering  voice.  '  Paulette,  where  is  she  ? 
When  will  she  arrive  i  Tell  mo,  oh,  tell  me.  Don't  you  see  you  are 
killing  me  ? ' 

'  The  vessel  has  arrived  in  Marseilles. ' 
'  To-day  ? ' 

*  Oh,  no.  Two  days  ago.'  ' 

*  Two  days  !  but  then  she  will  soon  be  in  Paris,  to-morrow,  this 
evening  i  Perhaps  she  is  here  now.  You  do  not  answer  !  Oh,  1  un- 
derstand your  silence  ;  you  want  to  spare  me  the  emotion  of  her 
return  !  My  daughter  has  arrived  already,  I  shall  see  her  in  an  h(mr 
— in  a  moment,  ah,  she  is  there  !  My  heart  tells  me  sho  is  behind 
that  door,  and  she  awaits  one  word  from  me  to  rush  into  my  arms 
— but  why  don't  you  come,  Paulette  1  Hurry  and  come  into  your 
mother's  arms  and  rest  upon  the  heart  which  boats  for  you  only.' 

The  poor  woman  had  raised  her  voice,  so  that  her  words  might 
cross  the  thicknessof  the  door  toreachher  daughter's  ears.  With  arms 
outstretched,  panting,  and  with  fixed  eyes  she  looked  at  that  door, 
which  was  so  long  opening,  and  Maltar  was  trying  to  calm  her, 
when   a  noise  iu  the  antechamber  doubled  her  fever. 


IGO  A  MARTYR. 

*  Don't  yoTi  hear  me,  Paulotte  ? '  cried  the  poor  mother,  despe- 
rately.    '  Still  I  hear  you.' 

Rushing  towards  the  hall,  before  Maltar  could  prevent  her,  she 
violently  i)ushed  open  the  door  which  seemed  to  her  the  only  ob- 
stacle between  her  kisses  and  those  of  her  darling  child.  A  small 
lamp  shed  a  shadowy  light  through  the  room.  Instead  of  the  be- 
loved girl  she  expected  to  seize  in  her  arms,  Laura  saw  a  man  stand- 
ing up,  F  man  whom  she  did  not  know.  A  shriek  of  shattered 
hope  iMid  fright  escaped  from  her  lips. 

'Ah  : '  she  cried,  drawing  back  as  if  she  had  seen  a  spectre. 
'  There  !  there  !     Who  is  there  ?  ' 

And  as  Mr.  Drack  followed  her  she  shrieked  : 

'  Maltar  !  a  man  !  a  man  ! ' 

The  Indian  caught  her  in  his  arms  as  she  was  falling. 

'  Take  courage,  mistress,'  he  said  with  his  usual  softness  which 
always  soothed  her.  '  The  man  who  is  there  is  a  friend,  and  he 
has  come  to  speak  to  you  of  the  young  mistress,  whose  friend,  and 
ouly  friend  he  is,  with  Maltar.' 

'  Ah  ! '  said  the  mother,  suddenly  mellowed,  'you  are  a  friend  of 
my  daughter,  and  you  have  come  to  speak  of  her  to  me.  Perhaps 
you  will  tiike  me  to  her.  Then,  be  blessed  !  a  thousand  times. 
Thank  you  !  thank  y^m  ! '  muttered  the  poor  woman,  pressing 
the  luiiu'is  of  l*aulette's  friend,  and  bathing  them  with  her  tears. 

This  time  we  luive  up  all  idea  of  dcscrihing  the  state  of  mind  Mr. 
Drack  was  in.  The  feeling  uppermost  in  him  was  anger.  He  was 
literally  furious.  Furious  at  feeling  so  much  emotion.  Furious 
because  he  was  thus  upsetting  the  principles  of  his  whole  life.  He 
had  worked  himself  up  to  that  pitch  of  anger  while  waiting  in  the 
antechamber,  where  he  was  makmg  bitter  reflections  on  his  actual 
situation.  At  first,  egotism  had  prompted  him  to  run  away  before 
the  Indian  would  call  him,  as  agreed  between  them,  but  a  second 
thought,  a  thought  of  good  and  generous  charity,  had  forced  him 
to  f:,it  down  and  wait.  It  was  at  that  moment  that  he  had  involun- 
tarily Dioved  a  chair,  and  the  noise  had  caused  Laura  to  believe 
that  her  daughter  was  there,  near  her.  Now  the  g(Jod  Mr.  Drack 
found  himself  caught  in  the  cogs  of  the  wheel,  and  since  he  had 
been  soimwise  as  to  put  his  lingers  into  them,  he  must  pass  through 
it  bodily.  As  it  annoyed  him  to  see  the  poor  woman  crying,  he 
seated  her  in  an  arm-chair,  took  a  handkerchief  which  was  on  a 
table  and  dried  her  tears. 

'  There  !  there  !  '  he  said,  like  a  father  who  is  trying  to  smother 
the  last  spasms  of  despair  of  his  child.  '  It  will  be  ail  right,  dear 
madam  !  your  daughter  is  not  lost  !  you  will  see  her  a<^ain  !  ' 

By  again  and  again  repeating  this  promise,'  in  which  he  did  not 
believe- much  himself,  after  what  the  Indian  had  told  him,  Mr. 
Drack  succeeded  in  soothing  Laura  to  a  certain  extent. 


*o 


A   MARTYR.  161 

'  Pardon  me,'  said  tlio  Uiiba£jpy  woman  to  tho  new  friend  who 
was  entering  into  her  life  so  suddenly,  '  I  am  ungrateful  towards 
you,  who  come  to  speak  to  me  of  my  beloved  child,  but  you  can- 
not know  how  wretched  and  unhappy  I  am  ! ' 

'  Yes  I  '  said  the  Englishman,  trying  to  repair  the  disorder  of  his 

dress,  '  yes,  I  know  all.    Tlie  prince No,  Maltar,  I  mean  to  say 

— Maltar  has  told  me  everything.' 

'  He  has  told  you  only  what  he  knew,  with  all  the  kindness  of  his 
boundless  devotion,'  said  the  wretched  woman,  smothering  a  sigh. 
'But  J  am  still  more  unhappy  than  Maltar  could  have  told  you, 
and  than  I  could  have  imagined  myself,  since  the  very  sight  of  my 
child  is  denied  to  me  on  the  day  of  her  arrival.  As  for  you,  sir, 
may  God  bless  you  fur  your  kindness  in  speaking  to  me  of  my  dear 
child.' 

A  bng  conversation  followed,  incessantly  interrupted  by  the  end- 
less (piestions  of  tho  anxious  mother,  who  wished  to  hear  every- 
thing all  at  once.  Tho  Englishman  had  to  narrate,  with  the 
minutest  details,  the  long  ocean  voyage,  the  arrival  at  Marseilles, 
the  sickness  (*f  Ainit  Basilique,  and  at  last  the  arrival  of  Paulette 
at  the  old  house  of  her  father.  And  as  ho  was  furious  at  his  own 
devotedness  to  tho  young  girl  he  carefully  omitted  the  recital  of  the 
storm  before  entering  the  poi  t,  the  falling  of  I'aulette  into  the  sea, 
and  her  rescue  by  him.  Sir  Elias  Drack. 

'  And  you  sa),'  asked  Laura,  shivering,  'that  the  darling  knew 
nothing  on  her  arrival  at  Paris  i  That  neither  her  aunt  nor  your- 
self dared  to  forwarn  her  !  Then  her  father  had  the  terrilde  task 
of  telling  her  everything.  However  cruel  M.  de  Moray  may  have 
shown  himself  towards  me  in  his  meiciless  i-evenge,  1  pity  him,' 
she  continued  'vith  an  involuntary  shiver.  '  In  his  place  1  do  not 
think  I  should  have  had  the  courage  to  leveal  to  my  daughter  the 
extent  of  her  unhappiness  !  Oh  !  the  dear  and  wretched  child,  how 
she  must  have  suft'ered  and  how  I  pity  her  !  But  yon  do  not  tell 
mo  how  Paulette  has  borne  the  ordeal  ? ' 

'How  could  I  tell  you,'  answered  Mr.  Drack.  '  I  left  Varennes 
street  just  at  the  moment  when,  thank  God,  my  mission  was  ended 
by  leaving  the  child  with  her  father.  Maltar  alone  can  tell  you  the 
rest. ' 

It  was  the  Indian's  turn  to  be  interrogated.  The  martyr  wanted 
to  know  with  a  precision  and  an  astonishitig  minuteness  of  details 
how  Paulette  was  ;  if  she  had  regained  all  her  health,  and  if  she 
had  borne  with  courage  the  terrible  knowledge  of  the  sad  event 
which  had  made  her  almost  an  orphan.  The  poor  woman  was 
divided  between  two  contrary  wishes  eipially  well  known  to  the 
heart  of  a  mother,  namely,  that  tho  child  could  not  bear  to  be  sepa- 
rated from  her  mother,  and  that,  however,  her  suffering  was  not 
above  lier  strength.     Suddenly,  just  as  she  was  going  to  ask  tho 


162  A   MARTYR. 

Indian  a  new  question,  Laura  became  ashy  pale.  A  horrible  doubt, 
an  uneasiness  which  had  not  occured  to  her  mind  as  yet,  was  being 
intensely  felt  by  her  now.  And  this  time,  it  was  with  a  feeling  of 
fear  that  she  interrogated  Maltar. 

'  What  did  my  daughter  say,'  she  asked  softly,  '  when  she  learned 
the  cause  assigned  by  her  father  to  obtain  a  judgment  of  divorce 
between  himself  and  me  /  How  did  she  judge  her  mother  ?  Did  she 
accept  without  a  protest  the  accusation  of  the  crime  1  did  not  deny 
in  the  presence  of  my  j  udges  ? ' 

'  The  young  mistress  knows  nothing  of  the  events  which  have 
preceded  or  accompanied  the  judgment  of  divorce,'  said  Maltar, 
happy  to  have  this  consolation  to  offer  to  the  unhaj  py  woman.  '  M. 
de  Moray  has  told  her  nothing.  He  only  spoke  of  grave  dissensions 
which  had  arisen  between  you  and  him.' 

'  God  be  blessed  ! '  cried  Laura,  joining  her  hands  in  an  action  of 
gratitude,  '  at  least  my  daughter  will  not  be  ashamed  of  her  mother. 
But  alas  !  her  ignorance  cannot  last  long.  A  very  legitimate  and 
ardent  desire  to  know  all  will  seize  upon  her  mind.  And  if  she  does 
not  find  out  by  chance,  there  are  now  in  the  house  where  Paulette 
will  live  people  who  hate  me,  and  who  will  acquaint  her  with  what 
she  should  not  know.  That  woman,  oh  !  that  woman  who  wears 
my  name  and  who  occupies  my  place  near  my  husband,  near  my 
child,  that  woman  is  my  mortal  enemy.' 

Time  had  passed  very  rapidly  during  this  interview,  in  which  so 
much  suflering  had  been  revealed  to  the  noble  martyr.  She  had 
been  spared  only  the  knowledge  of  two  things,  and  these  would 
only  be  revealed  to  her  when  there  was  no  longer  any  reason  for 
silence. 

In  the  first  place,  she  was  not  told  positively  that  she  would  not 
see  Paulette,  and  indeed  a  contrary  expression  was  'eft  on  her  mind. 
The  prohibition  of  M.  de  Moray  was  talked  of  as  only  a  transitory 
measure,  and  Mr.  Drack  said  nothing  of  the  project  of  the  marriage 
which  waste  tlirow  her  daughter  into  the  arms  of  Annibal  Palmeri, 
the  brother  of  the  second  Countess  de  Moray.  Then  what  was  the 
use  of  uselessly  tormenting  the  poor  mother,  who  had  already 
enough  sutt'erings  to  bear?  Be  that  as  it  may,  Mr.  Drack,  who  had 
secretly  sworn  to  have  nothing  more  lo  do  with  that  confounded 
family,  as  he  expressed  himself,  promised  to  Laura  that  ho  would 
come  and  see  her  again  before  his  departure  from  Paris. 

'  And  when  do  you  expect  to  go  away  ? '  asked  Maltar,  an- 
xiously. 

'  To-morrow,'  answered  the  Englishman  firmly. 

'To-morrow,'  said  Laura,  aftlicted  at  the  thought  of  losing  thi^t 
new  friend,  who  was  so  kind  to  her. 

'  Yes,  madam,'  and  meeting  her  eyes  full  of  tears,  *  to-morrow  a 


A   MARTY3.  103 

week,  or  two  weeks or .  Do  I  know  when  ?  I  shall  depart 

when  you  and  our  dear  little  Paulette  toll  me :  "  We  do  not  re([uire 
your  services  any  longer,  Sir  Elias  Drack,  go  away  !  "  ' 


V. 

Let  us  now  return  to  M.  Firmin  delaMarche's  house.  The  reader 
will  remember  that  after  the  murder  of  the  young  man  who  re- 
mained unknown,  and  whom  everybody  designated  as  the  lover  of 
the  first  Countess  de  Moray,  the  admiral  had  left  the  house  on 
Vareniies  street,  to  go  and  take  up  a  residence  in  the  neighbourhood 
of  the  Trocadero.  It  was  there,  on  Longchamp  street,  that  the  old 
and  loyal  sailor  was  hiding  the  stain  which  he  thought  the  pretended 
adultery  of  his  daughter  had  cast  on  his  spotless  honor.  There 
Laura  had  come,  like  a  mendicant,  to  implore  her  father  not  to  be 
so  severe,  and  having  been  mercilessly  driven  away,  she  had  re- 
mained several  hours,  depressed  and  heart-sore,  on  the  stairway,  at 
the  door  of  her  father's  house. 

The  reader  knows  what  tenderness  Mme.  de  la  Marche  bore  to 
Laura,  It  had  been  very  painful  to  her  to  obey  the  will  of  her 
husband  and  to  leave  her  daughter  in  such  a  complete  state  of  aban- 
donment, denied  all  affection  and  all  pity.  Very  often  the  wretched 
mother  had  prayed  to  her  husband,  supplicating  to  be  allowed  to  go 
and  see  her  daughter,  or  at  least  to  bo  allowed  to  write  to  her.  The 
admiral  hal  shown  himself  inflexible.  If  she  did  not  rebel  agJiinst 
that  iron  will,  if  she  humbly  bowed  her  head,  it  was  because  the 
dark  mystery  of  her  past  life  imposed  upon  her  a  resignation  with- 
out limit  to  the  orders  of  her  husband.  The  guilty  woman  she  had 
been  in  her  youth  could  not  have  in  her  old  ago  the  right  to  enter 
into  open  rebellion  against  the  outraged  authority  of  the  husband. 
Only  the  more  she  submitted  to  the  impassive  judge  of  her  daughter, 
the  more  bitter  were  the  sufferings  she  endured  herself.  She  suffered 
at  the  same  time  by  her  own  sorrows,  and  by  those  which  her 
silence  imposed  on  Laura.  One  day,  while  alone  in  her  room,  she 
opened  the  Holy  Scriptures,  as  she  used  to  do  very  often,  and  she 

d  the  words  which  suited  too  well  her  gloomy  thoughts  :  *  The 
children  of  adulterers,'  the  Book  of  Wisdom  paid,  '  shall  not  come 
to  perfection,  and  the  seed  of  the  unlawful  bed  shall  be  rooted 
out.' 

'  Alas  ! '  thought  the  poor  woman,  *  how  cruel  these  words  are, 
and  still  they  are  beneath  the  truth,  for  in  my  case  it  is  not  only  the 


164  A    MARTYR. 

child  i){  my  own  adultery  who  has  been  i)uiiished  ;  oven  the  legiti- 
mate  oti'spring  boars  the  weight  of  my  fault.' 

She  continued  :  '  And  if  they  live  long,'  said  the  book,  '  their  last 
old  age  shall  be  without  honor,  and  if  they  die  quickly  they  shall 
have  no  hope  nor  speech  of  comfort  in  the  day  of  trial.' 

The  tears  which  tilled  her  eyes  prevented  her  from  reading  any 
more. 

'  What  has  become  of  the  child  of  my  shame  i '  she  thought.  '  la 
he  already  dead  without  hope,  or  is  he  living  without  honor  and 
without  consolation  ?  1  know  nothing,  nothing  of  him.  J*>ut  I  can 
easily  guess  to  what  trials  he  has  been  subjected  by  the  sufferings 
which  have  been  heaped  on  the  daughter  who  was  not  sullied  by 
any  original  fault  ' 

Then  she  cried  m  despair  : 

'  Laura  !  my  poor  Laura  !  my  beloved  dauglit«r  !  what  a  long 
time  has  elapsed  since  I  have  been  .permitted  to  see  you  ?  what 
bitter  tears  you  must  have  shed  ! ' 

Her  maternal  love  revolted  against  the  harshness  of  the  Book  of 
Wisdom. 

'  Let  her,  who  was  gudty,'  she  cried,  '  be  punished  !  My  God,  it 
is  oidy  just,  and  1  submit.  But  to  prevent  the  guilty  mother  to 
sutler  with  her  daughter  and  console  her  is  too  hard,  yes,  too  hard  ! ' 

As  she  was  drying  her  tears,  M.  de  la  Marche  entered  the  room. 
He  said  to  her,  harshly  : 

'  You  are  still  crying  / ' 

'  Alas  ! '  humbly  answered  Mme.  de  la  Marche,  '  to  obey  you  my 
face  shows  the  appearance  of  a  firmness  which  my  heart  belies.  But 
to-day  my  courage  gave  way  ;  juat  think,  it  is  three  months  since  I 
have  seen  my  daughter.' 

'Your  daughter  ! '  cried  the  admiral.  '  I  have  forbidden  you  to 
pronounce  that  name.     The  woman  who  bore  it  is  dead  to  us.' 

'  Then,  give  me  the  liberty  of  crying.  Was  there  ever  a  mother 
forbidden  the  right  to  cry  over  her  dead  child  ? ' 

'  Suppose,  then,  if  you  prefer,  that  she  has  never  existed.' 

'  How  can  you  believe  that  I  will  suppose  that,  when  Iknow  that 
she  is  within  hearing,  that  her  sobs  cinne  through  these  walls,  and 
when,  for  the  past  three  months  she  lives  in  a  horrible  solitude,  a 
divorced  wife,  an  accursed  daughter  ! ' 

The  admirtii.  however  strong  was  his  will  over  himself  and  over 
others  was  startled. 

*  1  forbade  you,'  he  said,  '  ever  to  mention  her  name.' 

Mme.  de  la  Marche  had  more  courage  than  at  other  times,  and 
she  dared  to  insist. 

*  However  guilty  Laura  may  have  been,'  -she  continued,  '  she  is 
your  daughter  !  Remember  the  love  you  have  felt  for  her  ! ' 

The  old  man  had  regained  his  self-possession,  and  he  answered  in 
an  implacable  tone  : 


A    MARTYR.  105 

*  The  tenderer  my  lovo  was  when  I  believed  her  worthy  of  it, 
the  more  morcileas  is  my  anger  to-day.  For  the  last  time,  I  forbid 
you  to  apeak  of  her. ' 

'  VVell,  if  you  refuse  all  pity  to  your  child,'  said  Mme.  de  la 
Marche,  joining  her  hands,  '  at  least  show  mercy  towards  mo  : 
iielieve  mo,  I  have  neither  your  strength  nor  your  courage.  I  am 
only  a  woman  !  I  am  only  a  mother  !  I  pray  to  you  on  bended 
knees  !  allow  me  to  see  my  daughter  !' 

*  No  !  she  will  never  enter  this  house.     Never  ! ' 

*  Oh  !  my  God  !  not  here,  since  you  do  not  wish  it  ;  but  at  her 
home,  secretly.' 

'  No  !  I  tell  you  ;  do  not  ask  that.  The  punishment  of  the  fault 
committed  without  excuse  must  be  merciless.' 

'  Without  excuse,  you  affirm  !  Who  knows  if  there  is  not  one  she 
could  invoke  1 ' 

'  There  is  no  excuse  for  the  treason  of  a  wife  ! ' 

Mme.  de  la  Marche  felt  deeply  wounded.  In  condemning  her 
daughter,  the  husband  was  pronouncing  her  own  sentence.  So,  in 
pleading  the  cause  of  her  daughter,  she  was  defending  her  own. 

'Ah  !'  she  said,  'since  you  show  yourself  so  merciless,  it  is 
because  you  do  not  know  what  fatal  circumstances  xnight  surround 
a  woman  and  cause  her  to  fall.  A  feeling  of  love,  undoubtedly 
criminal,  but  unconscious,  at  tirst  creeps  into  her  heart  unknown  to 
herself.  Who  knows  that  afterwards  she  did  not  struggle  vigor- 
ously against  that  love.  Perhaps  she  has  called  to  her  help  the 
husband  who  was  absent.  Who  knows  that  the  betrayer  has  not 
contrived  a  plot  into  which  the  unfortunate  woman  has  fallen,  des- 
pairing and  affrighted  /  What  can  a  woman  do  in  such  a  case,  then  ? 
She  resists,  she  fights,  she  implores  ! ' 

'  No  ! '  said  the  admiral.     '  She  dies. ' 

'  And  if  at  the  time  she  is  to  strike  the  fatal  blow,  she  remem- 
bers she  has  a  child,  a  daughter  whom  she  adores  ? ' 

'  She  dies  for  that  child,'  repeated  the  old  man  with  the  same  en- 
ergy. '  She  dies  !  so  that  her  fault  may  not  sully  the  daughter  as 
it  sullies  the  husband  and  the  father. ' 

Mme.  de  la  Marche  was  silenced,  overwhelmed  and  vanquished 
at  last.  We  have  said  that  in  the  desperate  attempt  she  had  made 
on  behalf  of  Laura,  she  was  pleading  her  own  cause.  She  had  done 
it  with  so  much  sincerity  and  animation  that  for  a  few  moments  she 
had  forgotten  the  fault  and  the  punishment  of  her  daughter  in 
thinking  only  of  the  fault  committed  by  herself,  and  which,'  unknown 
to  her  husband,  had  not  been  punished  by  him. 

'  Ah  ! '  she  answered  at  last,'  you  are  right.  It  would  have  been 
better  to  have  died  !  '  and  she  was  speaking  about  herself. 

We  have  not  told  our  readers  that  Paulctte  had  made  a  visit  to 
M.  and  Mme.  de  la  Marche.     It  was  eight  days  since  their  grand- 


lOG  A   MARTYR. 

daughter  had  visited  them  when  the  above  conversation  took  place. 
M.  de  Moray  had  advised  thein  by  letter  that  Miss  de  Moray,  who 
had  just  arrived,  would  present  her  respects  to  her  grand-parents 
during  the  day.  The  interview  had  been  very  short,  and  if  we  may 
be  allowed  to  use  the  word,  very  embarrassing.  On  the  lips  of  the 
grand-mother,  and  on  those  of  the  grand-daughter,  was  a  word,  a 
name,  which  was  burning  them,  and  which  both  were  wishing  to 
repeat  amid  their  tears.  But  M.  de  Moray  had  allowed  his  daughter 
to  visit  her  grand-parents  only  on  condition  that  that  very  name 
would  not  be  mentioned.  On  the  other  hand,  the  admiral  would 
not  allow  Mme.  de  la  Marche  to  receive  Paulette  unless  no  allusion 
whatevar  was  made  to  the  one  who.  although  her  mother,  had  not 
the  right  to  be  called  by  the  same  name  as  her  daughter.  Under 
these  circumstances,  what  words  could  be  freely  exchanged  between 
the  grand-mother  and  the  child.  The  remembrance  of  the  absent 
one  had  stopped  every  other,  as  they  would  have  thought  of  com- 
mitting an  impiety  by  holding  a  common-place  conversation.  These 
two  women,  placed  at  the  two  extremes  of  age,  and  still  united  by 
sorrow,  had  embraced  each  other,  mingling  their  tears,  and  that 
was  all.  Paulette  had  gone,  saying  she  would  come  a  week  after, 
on  the  same  day. 

The  day  indicated  had  arrived,  and  one  hour  only  was  wanting 
for  the  time  of  that  second  interview,  when  the  servant  brought  in 
a  card  which  he  gave  to  the  admiral. 

*  Sir  Elias  Drack,'  he  said,  trying  to  remember.  *  That  name  is 
not  unknown  to  me.  What  may  that  gentleman  have  to  tell  me  ? 
Well,  we  shall  know.' 

While  waiting  for  the  stranger,  M.  de  la  Marche  prevailed  upon 
his  wife  to  suppress  her  tears.  She  had  hardly  done  so  when  Pau- 
lette's  companion  entered  the  room. 

*Be  welcome,  sir,'  said  the  admiral,  'and  please  sit  down.' 

In  showing  him  to  a  seat,  the  admiral  looked  at  his  visitor,  and 
the  Englishman's  face  recalled  an  indistinct  recollection. 

'I  do  not  know,  sir,  if  I  am  mistaken,'  said  he,  hesitating,  'but 
it  seems  to  me  this  is  not  the  first  time  we  meet.' 

'Faith  I  admiral  !'  answered  Mr.  Drack,'  I  was  just  thinking 
about  the  same  thing.  And  1  remember  now.  It  was  in  Calcutta, 
where,  although  I  was  only  an  English  merchant,  I  occupied  the 
post  of  consul  of  Italy. ' 

'  Exactly  so,'  said  M.  de  la  Marche.  '  I  remember  also.  It  was 
at  a  banquet  given  by  the  clubs  of  that  city  to  the  officers  of  my 
squadron,  during  the  few  days  we  passed  there.' 

*  I  was  one  of  the  organizers  of  that  banquet,  and  as  I  speak 
French  pretty  well,  I  was  charged  to  welcome  the  brave  sailors 
placed  under  your  orders.  Between  you  and  me,  1  was  annoyed 
and  flattered  both  by  the  proceeding.     1  am  a  quiet  man,  and  any- 


A    MAHTYK.  Iti7 

thing  changed  in  my  every-day  habits  upsets  me.  And  the  idea  of 
making  a  speech,  I  who  had  never  spoken  in  public,  was  more  than 
I  could  bear.' 

*  But  you  did  much  better  than  many  professional  speakors, 
politely  said  the  aduiiral. '  1  have  a  pleasant  recollection  of  that 
banquet,  and  also  of  the  speech  you  made.  And  you  have  given 
up  trade  ? ' 

*  And  the  consulate  at  the  same  time,  yes,  admiral.' 
'  And  definitely  ? ' 

*  Oh,  yes,  definitely.  I  do  not  deny  that  I  thoui,ht  of  asking  my 
government  the  favor  of  entering  into  the  diplomatic  service.' 

'  It  is  a  difbcult  career  for  those  who  do  not  enter  it  very  young. ' 
'  In  olden  times,  Admiral,  you  would  have  been  right,  but  it  is 
much  simplified  now-a-days.' 

'  How  is  that  ? '  • 

*  Undoubtedly.  All  the  science  of  our  political  men  consists  of 
two  very  simple  ideas.     The  first  is,  naturally,  to  get  into  power.' 

'  And  the  second  ? ' 

*  When  they  get  there,  it  is  to  stay  in.' 

*  Then,  decidedly,  you  shall  serve  your  country  again,'  said  the 
admiral,  smiling  at  this  whim. 

'  No,  Admiral.  I  have  decided  to  abandon  public  affairs  to  de- 
vote myself  entirely ' 

'  To  your  own  ? ' 

'  To  rest  only.  Rest  will  become  the  sole  occupation  of  my  life 
after  I  have  acquitted  myself  of  a  mission,  which  is  all  the  more 
delicate   as  I  am  not  at  all  personally  interested  in  it.' 

*  A  mission  ?    From  whom  ? ' 

'  From  Mile,  de  Moray,  Admiral.' 

Until  thenMme.  delaMarche  had  taken  no  part  in  the  conversa- 
tion, but  the  name  of  her  grand-daughter  awakened  her  interest. 

'  Paulette  has  sent  you  ? '  she  said.  '  You  know  my  grand- 
daughter ?  ' 

'  I  had  the  pleasure  to  cross  the  ocean  with  her  and  to  escort  her 
to  Paris,  because  her  aunt  was  unable  to  continue  the  journey.' 

'  Doubtless  you  know,'  said  the  admiral,  '  that  Miss  Basiliciue,  the 
Ctunt  de  Moray's  sister,  has  died  at  Marseilles.?' 

'  I  heard  it  this  morning.  Miss  Paulette,  who  was  very  ranch 
afiected  by  this  bad  news,  told  me  of  it.' 

*  You  have  seen  my  grand-daughter  this  morning?'  said  Mme. 
de  la  Marche,  surprised  at  the  intimacy  existing  between  a  stranger 
and  M.  de  Moray's  daughter,  '  and  she  has  entrusted  you  with  a 
mission  V 

'  Well,  Madam,'  answered  the  Englishman  with  a  good-natured 
smile,  '  under  the  pretence  that  I  have  had  occasion  to  be  useful  to 
her  once,  Miss  Paulette  thinks  I  am  bound  to  humor  all  her  fan- 


lOS  A    MAIlTYIt. 

cies.  As  I  am  not  stnuig-miiided,  I  do  not  roaist,  and  in  this  way 
I  avoid  discussions  which  would  trouble  my  rest,  and  I  have  be- 
come her  factotum.' 

'  And  she  sends  you,  undoubtedly,  to  tell  us  she  would  not  pay 
us  a  visit  to-day  ? ' 

'  I  bo<4  your  pard(Mi.  That  is  not  exactly  what  I  came  for.  I  must 
even  acknowledge  that  I  have  somewhat  altered  the  truth  in  saying 
that  Miss  l*aulette  has  sent  me.  I  hav3  taken  ui)()n  mysjif  to  do 
what  I  am  doing  now.  I  have  borrowed  Miss  Paulette's  name  only 
to  engage  your  attention.' 

'Then  why  do  you  come,  sir,'  asked  the  admiral,  who  was  get- 
ting annoyed. 

'  To  speak  to  you  of  Miss  Paulotto's  mother,  Admiral,  of  Mme. 
do  Moray. 

It  was  really  too  bad  tliat  Sir  Ellas  Drack  had  abandoned  the 
diplomatic  career.  He  would  have  rendered  great  services  to  his 
country,  if  we  may  judge  of  his  talent  by  the  ability  ho  had  dis- 
played in  p  nouncing  Mme.  de  Moray's  name  in  the  admiral's 
house.  Anybody  else,  in  trying  other  means,  would  have  been  put 
out.  But  M,  dela  Marche  had  been  caught  luiawaros,  and  he  could 
only  protest  feebly. 

'You  come  to  speak  to  me  of  Paulotte's  mother?'  he  asked, 
irresolutely,  not  knowing  what  to  do  or  say. 

'  Of  Laura!  of  our  daughter! '  whispered  Mme.  de  la  Marche. 

'  Yes,  sir, — yes,  Madam,'  answered  Sir  Elias  Drack,  in  the  most 
artless  way,  '  of  your  daughter.  You  are  probably  not  aware  that 
M.  de  Moray  has  forbidden  his  daughter  to  see  her  mother, 
which  is  an  action  exceedingly  cruel  and  odious.' 

'  You  think  so,'  said  the  admiral,  severely.  '  For  my  part,  I  be- 
lieve M.  de  Moray's  action  to  be  perfectly  just  and  legitimate.' 

*  That  is  what  I  was  saying,'  continued  the  Englishman.  '  Just, 
but  cruel ;  legitimate,  but  odious.  We  are  exactly  of  the  same 
opinion.  It  is  exactly  the  same  thing  as  if  you  forbade  the  baroness 
here  present,  to  see  her  daughter.' 

'  But  I  do  forbid  her,  sir,  and  I  do  not  understand  that  you 
should  take  the  liberty ' 

*  Nor  I  either,  admiral,  I  do  not  understand  it,'  answered  Sir 
Elias  Drack.  '  It  surprises  me  to  find  myself  interfering  in  family 
afl'airs  I  care  nothing  about.  But  I  do  as  people  do  who  have  a  dislike 
of  cold  water  and  who  fall  in  the  river,  I  must  swim  to  get  out  of  it. 
So,  I  was  telling  you  that  Miss  Paulette  not  being  allowed  to  see 
her  mother,  I  went  myself  to  the  home  of  Mme.  Laura,  whom  I  was 
not  acquainted  with,  to  give  her  notice  of  her  child's  return  to  Paris. 
A  beautiful  woman,  sir,  is  Mme.  Laura,  but  she  looks  very  unwell, 
I  must  tell  you.' 

*  Sir! '  said  the  admiral,  getting  angry. 


A   MAUTVR.  IGO 

But  the  more  angry  M.  de  la  Marche  was  yetting,  the  cooler  Sir 
Eliaa  became. 

'  Well,  imagine  that  I  have  been  subjected  to  a  very  trying  or- 
deal, I,  who  have  not  your  strong-minded  character,  Admiral,  when 
I  saw  Miss  I'auletto's  mother  pass  successively  from  extreme  joy  to 
extreme  despair.  Happy  at  the  thought  of  knowing  that  her  daugh- 
ter was  so  near,  after  such  a  long  absence,  she  nearly  fainted  in  my 
arms  on  hearing  of  the  hard-heartedness  of  the  ('ount  de  Moray, 
who  would  not  allow  his  daughter  to  receive  her  mother's  kisses.' 

*0h!  unhappy  woman,'  whispered  Mme  de  la  Marche. 

*  I  had  thought,'  continued  Sir  Elias  Drack,  coolly,  *  that  time 
would  apiieaso  these  emotions.  Not  at  all,8ir,they  are  growing  worse ; 
and  now.  each  of  them,  Miss  Paulette  and  Mme.  Laura,  seem  to  . 
have  an  understanding  to  die  of  sorrow.  Then  I  had  an  idea  (1 
have  ideas  souietimea),  and  I  said  to  myself  :  Since  M.  de  Moray 
will  not  allow  Miss  Paulette  to  go  to  her  mother,  there  is  only  <»ne 
way  of  fixing  this  matter.  See  how  very  simple  it  is.  I  said  this 
morning  to  Mme.  Laura  :  *'  Your  daughter  will  go  to-day  to  her 
grand-father's,  why  not  go  yourself  I  And  there,  on  neutral  ground, 
you  shall  see  and  kiss  your  child  at  your  ease."  ' 

The  admiral  cut  him  short. 

*  But  I  again  tell  you,  sir,'  he  cried,  with  the  thundering  voice 
he  usftd  to  have  on  board  his  vessel,  '  that  I  will  not  see  the  per- 
son you  speak  of.' 

*  1  know  that,  admiral.  I  perfectly  understand.  But  this  is 
where  my  idea  becomes  altogether  clever.  Did  you  notice  the  fine 
weather  we  have  to-day,  admiral  ]  Just  the  kind  of  weather  to 
crowd  all  sails,  and  run  eleven  knots  an  hour,  before  the  wind. 
You  are  near  the  Bois  de  Boulogne.  Go  and  take  a  walk  and  dur- 
ing that  time  the  baroness  will  receive  her  daughter  and  her  grand- 
daughter.' 

'  1  have  told  you  also  that  I  forbid  Mme.  de  la  Marche  to  see  the 
person  you  speak  of,'  brutally  said  the  admiral. 

'  Bravo  !  better  and  better,'  said  the  Englishman.  '  Mme.  de 
la  Marche  will  go  with  you.  You  will  take  a  walk  around  the  lake, 
arm  in  ami,  and  Mme  Laura  and  Miss  Paulette  will  meet  here  dur- 
ing that  time.  You  readily  tmderstand  how  happy  yo\i  will  make 
these  poor  women,  this  mother  and  this  daughter,  who  have  not 
seen  each  other  for  a  year,  and  who  have  so  many  things  to  tell 
each  other. ' 

The  admiral  exploded  at  this  insistance,  so  cutting  in  its  artless 
impudence.  He  even  forgot  in  his  anger,  that  he  had  forbidden 
his  own  lips  ever  to  pronounce  the  name  of  his  daughter. 

'  Laura  shall  not  come  here,'  he  cried  with  an  oath,  *  she  knows 
she  must  not  come  here.' 

'  I  beg  your  pardon,  but  she  will  come. ' 

K 


170  A   MARTYR. 

'  She  woiiM  d.iro  I  after  I  tlrovo  her  out-of  my  Iiouhu. ' 

'  Sho  will  daru,  Acltitiral.  Hecauae  J  told  hur  to  do  ho,  and  I 
proiiiiHud  to  obtain  your  pormission.' 

'  You  luivo  not  done  that  /' 

'  I  beg  your  pardon,  but  I  havo.  Mnio.  Laura  will  come  to  your 
door,  to  await  your  decision,  and  to  tell  the  truth  sho  is  there  now.' 

'  At  my  door  / ' 

*  In  the  street,  under  your  window,  hid  in  a  cab,  waitinj;  for  a 
signal  which  will  give  her  the  greatest  joy,  or  throw  her  into  the 
depths  of  despair.' 

*  A  signal.' 

'  Very  ingenious.  On  arriving,  Mme.  Laura  showed  mo  your 
apartment  and  told  mo  : — **  Behind  that  window  are  my  father  and 
mother."  And  I  answered  :  "  1  will  try  to  soften  the  heart  of  your 
father.  If  I  succeed,  I  will  open  the  window  and  you  will  como 
up.  If  I  fail  I  will  let  the  curtain  drop,  in  which  case  you  will  re- 
turn to  your  lonely  abode."  ' 

The  ex-consul  had  hardly  finished  speaking  when  the  admiral  al- 
most tore  the  curtain  which  was  to  accjuaint  Laura  that  the  eti'orts 
of  Sir  Elias  Drack  had  failed. 

'  Ah  !  what  aro  you  doing  ( '  cried  Mme,  de  la  Marche,  trying  to 
stop  her  husband. 

The  Englishman  prevented  her. 

*  Lot  him  go  ! '  he  said  in  a  low  voice. 

After  a  few  seconds  of  a  deep  silence,  the  diplomat  uttered  an 
exclamation  of  surprise 

'  liy  Jove  !  '  he  cried.     *  What  havo  I  done  ? ' 
'  What  do  you  meah  ? '  asked  the  admiral. 
'  I  have  made  a  mistake.' 
'  How  / ' 

*  In  my  trouble,  in  my  emotion,  I  made  a  mistake,  I  tell  you. 
It  was  in  case  you  would  consent  to  let  Mme.  Laura  come  in  that  I 
was  to  dnjp  the  curtain.' 

'  Oh  I  my  God  ! '  cried  Mme.  de  la  Marche,  understanding  the 
clever  comedy  just  played, 

'  So  that  now  1 '  asked  the  admiral,  at  the  same  time  furious  to 
have  been  the  dupe  of  a  pious  treachery,  and  moved  to  the  inner- 
most of  his  soul  at  the  thought  that  his  daughter,  answering  the 
signal,  would  appear  before  him. 

'  So  that  now,' said  Sir  Elias,  speaking  slowly  to  give  time  for 
Laura  to  arrive,  '  thanks  to  my  blunder,  Mme.  Laura  has  entered 
the  house,  she  has  climbed  the  stairs,  her  heart  trembling  with  grati- 
tude and  emotion,  she  has  knocked  at  your  door,  and — and — here, 
admiral,  here  she  is.' 

Just  as  the  Englishman  spoke  these  last  words,  Laura  opened  the 
door  of  her  mother's  room,  and  remained  a  moment  on  the  thres- 


A   MARTYR.  171 

hold,  hiirdly  oroathing.  Shu  was  so  palu,  su  chiiugiul,  ho  din'eront 
froia  her  old  self,  that  evun  hor  fritnula  v/ould  hardly  have  known 
her.  Hilt  the  heart  of  a  mother  could  only  see  in  the  distress  of 
lier  child  one  more  motive  to  love  and  pity  her.  However  rigorous 
might  have  been  thu  orders  of  the  admiral,  Mme.  de  la  Marche 
could  not  resist  the  sentiment  which  overcame  her. 

*  Laura  ! '  she  cried,   '  My  daughter  I ' 

And  for  the  first  time  in  three  months  the  two  women  found 
themselves  closely  clasped  together. 

'  Well  !  well  ! '  thought  Sir  Elias  Drack,  rubbing  his  hands  with 
UKulest  triumph,'  decidedly,  1  think  I  could  have  entered  diplo- 
macy !   I  would  not  have  been  more  clmnsy  than  others.' 

Surprised  himself,  and  laboring  under  an  insuperable  emotion, 
the  admiral  stood  as  if  paralyzed.  A  little  m  )re,  and  ho  would 
have  rushed  to  his  daughter's  arms,  like  his  wife.  But  his  anger 
getting  the  better  of  him,  ho  tore  his  wife  from  her  child.  Then 
he  said  to  Laura  : 

'  By  error  or  treachery  you  have  thought  yourself  authorized  to 
cross  the  threshold  of  the  door  which  I  kept  closed  to  you  until 
now.  Sir  Elias  Drack,  in  his  quality  of  occasional  diplomat,  has 
been  guilty  of  a  lie  ! ' 

*  An  error,  admiral  ! '  he  said  humbly.  '  A  simple  error  for  which 
1  aione  am  respimsible.' 

Laura  joined  her  hands  and  looked  at  her  father  through  the 
tears  which  blinded  her  eyes. 

'  The  most  unhappy,' she  said,  'have  access  to  your  house,  my 
father  ;  and  I  swear  to  you  that  of  all  those  who  come  here,  there 
is  not  one  whose  fate  is  more  worthy  of  pity  than  mine  !  ' 

*  Undoubtedly,'  cried  the  admiral,  '  because  there  is  not  one  who 
is  as  guilty  as  you  are  !  ' 

Sir  Elias  Drack  was  then  near  Mme.  de  la  Marche. 

*  Have  courage,'  ho  said  in  a  low  voice  to  the  noble  old  mother, 
who  was  violently  trembling,  '  since  he  listens  to  his  daughter,  he 
will  forgive.' 

*  Alas  ! '  answered  the  poor  woman,  '  you  do  not  know  the  merci- 
less will  of  my  husband.  My  daughter  has  come  here  only  to 
return  still  more  unhappy  than  before. ' 

What  followed  seemed  to  prove  the  fears  of  Mme.  do  la  Marche. 
The  admiral  showed  the  door  to  his  daughter. 

*  Go,'  he  said  coolly,  '  and  may  the  remembrance  of  your  crime 
prevent  you  from  again  entering  this  house  ! ' 

Laura  made  a  last  etibrt. 

*  If  my  crime  deserved  such  a  chastisement,'  she  said  with  touch- 
ing tenderness,  '  it  belonged  to  another,  to  my  husband,  not  to  you, 
my  father,  to  inflict  it,  and  he  has  very  cruelly  struck  mo. 


172  A   MARTYR. 

'  M.  do  Moray  lias  H|)rm><1  your  lifu,  and  yoit  May  ytjii  huvo  hu»ii 
uruolly  Htruuk  '. '  iiitorriiptud  tliu  admiral. 

'  I  havo  boon  driven  away  and  repudiated.  Death,  if  tlio  man 
whom  the  law  constituted  my  jud^o  had  f^ivon  it,  would  have  been 
a  puniHhint^nt  Iohs  severe.  And  still,'  she  said  in  a  mysterious  and 
involuntary  protest,  '  it  seems  to  me  that  now,  since  1  plead  the 
cause  of  niy  daughter  and  mine,  that  a  sentiment  of  rebellion 
springs  up  in  my  heart,  and  that  sentiment  tells  mo  that  i  have 
boon  more  cruelly  punished  than  I  deserved.' 

And  while  she  was  saying  those  words  her  voice  had  accjuirod 
now  enerj^'y,  and  her  dazzlini^  look  soemod  to  burst  the  shadows 
which  darkened  her  reason.  The  cold  and  severe  voice  of  the 
admiral  broui,'ht  her  back  to  herself,  or  rather  plunged  her  anew 
into  her  painful  mania. 

*  Others  than  M.  do  Moray  would  have  boon  still  more  merciless,' 
said  the  admiral.  '  I,  yes,  1  who  speak,  if  I  had  been  yotir  hus- 
band, I  would  have  taken  a  more  terrible  revent>o,  and  then  I  should 
have  died  of  despair  and  shame.' 

'  It  is  true,'  said  Laura  indistinctly,  '  I  could  have  boon  deprived 
of  my  life  as  well  as  of  my  happiness.  It  is  for  that  reason  I  sub- 
mitted without  protesting  or  resisting  to  the  will  of  my — of  the 
man  who  was  my  husband.  Hut  towards  you,  my  father,  1  have 
boon  guilty  of  no  otl'enco.  I  have  always  been  to  you  and  my 
mother  a  dutiful  and  devoted  daughter.  And  I  entreat  you,  in 
remembrance  of  that  devotion,  to  take  pity  on  me.' 

There  was  an  immense  despair  in  this  heart-rending  prayer. 
Although  it  was  none  of  his  business,  and  ho  was  sure  nothing 
which  did  not  touch  him  personally  could  move  him,  Sir  Elias 
Drack  was  biting  his  lips  to  smother  a  sob  which  was  rising  in  his 
throat,  ho  knew  not  why. 

*  Here,  admiral,'  he  said,  *  that  is  true.  Unless  you  are  a  canni- 
bal, you  will  have  pity.' 

M.  do  la  Marche,  without  even  hearing  him,  answered  his 
daughter. 

*  Your  only  hope  is  that  age  and  sorrow  will  drown  my  memory. 
As  long  as  I  remember,  I  can  do  nothing  for  you.' 

'  Oh  !  what  can  1  say  to  convince  you  I '  cried  Laura  once  more. 
'  Can  one  fault  erase  the  remembrances  of  a  whole  life  ]  Remem- 
ber !  Was  it  not  you  whom  I  cherished  more  than  anything  in  the 
world,  when  a  little  child,  I  escaped  from  my  mother's  arms  to  run 
into  yours  1  Later,  as  a  young  girl,  I  was  so  proud  to  lean  on  your 
arm  ?  Ileniomber,  father  !  oh,  remember  ! ' 

'The  more  I  remember,'  said  the  old  man,  whose  anger  seemed 
to  bo  still  increasing,  the  greater  abhorrence  I  feel  for  her  who  has  poi- 
Boned  the  sweet  remembrances  you  evoke  !  Go  !  accursed  daughter  ! 


A    MAIITYU.  173 

iiiul  Iiopi)  that  I  inny  forgot  tho  ton<1*^rnosH  nnd  lovo  I  had  for  you, 
to  bo  ablu  to  for^'ist  your  criinu  at  the  sauiu  tiiiio.' 

This  time  Laura  felt  van<|uishiul.  At  thu^u  words  :  AcuurHtHl 
(laughtor,  at  tho  ruinunihrance  of  that  turrihh)  inalLuliction,  which 
had  contributod  to  drivu  her  mail,  alio  had  started,  her  bhxxl  had 
been  fro/on  in  ht>r  vuinn.     Sho  rusi^^nud  hurself. 

'  Very  well  !  '  sho  said,  '  bo  inorciloss,  my  fatlior,  and  may  (Sod 
have  pity  on  you.  I  shall  not  implore  your  fori^'iveness  or  yonr  pity 
for  myself.  I  shall  speak  to  you  now  in  tho  name  of  auother.  It 
is  for  her  sako  that  my  exile  nnist  coaso.  It  is  to  save  her  life  that 
I  must  bo  free  to  outer  this  house  at  will.' 

'  You  must  ! '  said  tho  admiral,  astonished  at  this  now  departure. 
*  And  why  mud  yuii,  as  you  say  i ' 

'  Hecauso  my  dauj^htor  has  returned,  whom  I  have  not  soon  for 
almost  one  year,  and  that  she  may  bo  enabled  to  visit  mo.  Heed 
not  the  sorrows  of  tho  guilty  woman,  since  that  is  your  will.  Hut 
do  not  indict  the  same  punishment  on  the  poor  child,  so  pure  and 
innocent  !  Do  not  deprive  hor  of  her  mother's  carossea  ;  and  if  sho 
does  not  meet  mo  here,  where  can  I  see  her  /  M.  do  Moray's  hou.so 
is  a  paradise  closed  to  me  forever.  Yo»i  are  also  aware  that  Paulotto 
is  forbidden  to  enter  the  house  of  a  condemned  woman.' 

'That  is  true,'  thought  the  admiral,  moved  at  last.  'Poor 
Pauletto  !  ' 

Laura  continued  to  plead  with  more  force.  She  was  j^ather- 
ing  strength,  as  tho  struggle  wont  on,  like  all  mothers  lighting 
for  their  childreii. 

*  Hut  think  of  it,'  she  said  again.  '  You  must  allow  my  daughter 
to  come  and  see  mo,  to  kiss  me,  to  cry  with  me,  and  right  here.  It 
is  not  into  the  heart  of  the  second  wife  her  father  has  taken  that  sho 
will  pour  her  confidence  and  her  sorrows.  And  then,  if  it  is  not  iu 
M.  do  Moray's  house,  or  in  mine,  that  wo  are  abi  to  meet,  it  must 
be  in  yours.  Because,  at  last,  if  you  throw  me  out,  I  shall  be 
obliged,  to  moot  my  daughter,  to  stand  at  tho  corner  of  the  streets 
and  to  beg  one  of  hor  looks,  to  ask  for  her  kisses  as  a  charity.  Do 
not  recjuire  that  from  me,  father,  because,  in.leed,  it  is  too  uuich, 
yes,  too  much.' 

*  Oh  !  unhappy  child  ! '  thought  the  admiral,  hesitating  and  fight- 
ing against  his  heart. 

*  Don't  you  see  what  she  suffers  ! '  said  Mme.  de  la  Marche  to  her 
husband. 

By  a  strange  phenomenon,  Laura's  mother  was  not  crying  any 
more.  All  of  a  sudden  she  had  transformed  herself,  as  if  sho  had 
taken  a  grave  resolution.  Eiias  Dr:iok,  who  was  then  looking  at 
her,  was  stupefied  at  the  change  in  her  face. 

'Decidedly,  I  begin  to  find  all  this  very  amusing,'  ho  thought, 
trying  to  stifle  his  feelings, 


174  A   MAUTVK. 

On  hearing  his  wife  asking  him  if  he  did  not  notice  Laura's  suH'er- 
ings,  the  admiral  betrayed  himself. 

'  And  don't  yon  see  the  sufferings  I  endure,'  he  cried.  'Do  you 
not  understand  that  my  own  '  3art  is  torn  as  much  as  hers.  All  my 
being  urgc»«  me  to  open  my  heart  and  my  arms  to  her.  And  still 
I  must  not ;  I  cannot,  and  I  will  not ! '  he  ended,  striking  the  floor 
with  rage.    '  She  must  go  ! ' 

Laura  held  up  her  head,  which  she  had  hitherto  kept  lowered. 

'  Your  will  shall  be  done,  my  father,  I  am  going  away.  But  I 
pray  to  the  Almighty  that,  on  the  day  of  his  judgment  he  may  be 
less  severe  towards  you  than  you  have  been  towards  your  child. 
Farewell  ! ' 

She  started  to  go  away,  but  her  strength  failed  her,  and  she  stag- 
gered. Mme.  de  la  Marche  ran  to  help  her  and  caught  her  in  her 
arms. 

*  Laura,  my  child  ! '  she  cried. 

*  Mother  dear  ! '  answered  the  poor  woman.  '  At  least  1  have 
never  doubted  your  love.  It  would  be  sweet  for  me  to  die  now, 
resting  on  your  loving  heart,  as  I  used  to  in  happier  days,  and 
gathering  the  dew  of  ^  our  tears  on  my  face.' 

*  Unhappy  child  !  you  wish  to  die  ! ' 

'  Oh  !  yes,'  answered  the  martyr,  with  a  celestial  smile,  '  I  wish 
to  die  in  your  arms,  mother,  and  in  my  beloved  daughter's  arms. 
(Jive  me  another  kiss,  dear  mother,  and  now  that  I  have  received 
it,  let  me  go.  If  I  remained  here  longer,  I  would  not  have  the 
strength  to  leave,  and  1  should  fall  there,  despairing,  dead  !  Fare- 
well !  mother  !  farewell  ! ' 

'  No,'  cried  Mme.  de  la  Marche,  '  I  cannot  leave  you  thus.  Lis- 
ten,' turning  towards  the  inflexible  admiral. 

'  What  do  you  wish  ? ' 

'  I  want  to  tell  you  that  this  struggle  against  your  own  heart  can- 
not last  any  longer  ;  that  repentance  calls  for  forgiveness,  and  that 
tears  deservo  pity  !  You  will  not  repulse  your  child  who  prostrates 
herself  it  your  feet  ! ' 

The  admiral  was  like  one  of  those  lunatics  who  hear  nothing,  and 
are  always  trying  to  break  their  heads  against  the  walls  of  their 
cells. 

'No  !  no  !  no  !'  he  cried  vehemently. 

Mme.  de  la  Marche  raised  Laura,  who  was  on  her  kneei^ 

*  Then,  get  up,  Laura,'  she  said  firmly,  '  wo  shall  go  togeiher  ! ' 
'  Ah  !  my  mother  ! '  cried  Laura  distracted. 

'  What  are  you  doing  '( '  -^sked  the  admiral. 

'  My  dutv,'  nobly  answer*,  i  Mme.  de  la  Marche,  *  I  quit  the  house 
f    m  which  my  child  is  banisiied  to  go  and  weep  with  her. ' 

You  wish  to  leave  me,  your  husband  !  the  old  man  whose  name 
is  above  reproach. 

'  To  follow  ray  repented  child,  yes  ! ' 


A   MARTYR.  17o 

*  Cto,  then  ! '  said  the  admiral.  '  And  J  hope  that  with  your  depar- 
ture, the  remembrance  of  forty  years  of  devotion  and  alt'ection  may 
be  wiped  out  for  you  and  for  me.  I  had  thought  that  death  alone 
could  part  us  ;  and  now  I  shall  wait  for  it  anxiously.  Farewell ! 
then,  farewell  ! ' 

And  ho  made  a  gesture  to  drive  away  from  his  house  the  oidy 
beings  he  had  loved,  his  wife  and  his  daughter,  but  his  heart  broke 
and  he  fell  into  an  arm-chair,  sobbing  bitterly.  Sir  Elias  Drack,  at 
the  sight  of  his  tears,  began  to  cough  loudly.  He  took  out  a  hand- 
kerchief which  he  feigned  to  put  to  his  mouth,  but  in  reality,  it  was 
to  dry  his  eyes.  Laura,  hearing  her  mother  say  she  was  going  to 
leave  her  husband's  house  to  weep  with  her,  felt  an  immense  joy  in 
the  midst  of  her  sorrow.  But  the  despair  of  the  oUl  man  shattered 
the  sudden  hope  which  had  sprung  up  in  her  heart. 

'  Mother,'  she  said  softly,  *  look  at  my  father.  He  weeps  ;  he 
who  was  not  moved  by  the  storms  of  the  ocean,  or  in  tlie  midst  of 
battles.  He  weeps,  and  you  would  leave  him  I  No,  no,  remain 
with  him,  mother  I  I  do  not  wish  him  to  know  the  anguish  of  lone- 
liness and  abandonment.  I  have  been  already,  througli  the  fault  I 
am  expiating,  a  cause  of  sorrow  to  my  father,  and  1  do  not  want  to 
add  anything  to  the  burden  of  his  woes.  Remain  with  him,  mother, 
and  keep  my  heart  between  yourselves.' 

Say'  g  this,  she  gave  a  parting  embrace  to  the  mother  whom  her 
self-ti  nial  repulsed  and  started  away.  Mme.  de  la  Marche,  with  her 
hands  clasped,  seemed  to  call  upon  her  daughter  the  consolations 
which  her  love  could  not  give,  and  which  she  could  expect  only 
from  heaven.  This  time,  the  admiral  was  vanciuished.  His  iron 
will  was  broken  to  pieces.  The  generosity  of  his  daughtfcj.  -^n- 
quered  him  quicker  than  her  tears  and  her  supplications. 

'Laura!'  he  cried,  .'Laura?  I  am  vanquished.  Come  to  my 
heart  ! ' 

The  poor  woman  looked  at  her  father,  and  her  eyes  seemed  to 
ask  if  his  words  were  true. 

'  Yes,  come  ! '  repeated  the  old  man.  'I  could  not  have  survived 
the  abandonment  of  her  who  was  the  companion  of  all  my  life,  and 
still  1  would  not  have  said  a  word  to  retain  her,  since  she  preferred 
going  with  you.  But  you  forgot  that  I  had  been  merciless  IVIy 
daughter,  my  beloved  child  !  You  know  not  how  wretched  I  felt 
when  I  forced  my  lips  to  condemn  you  to  exile,  and  I  closed  my 
arms,  which  were  tempted  to  clasp  you  to  my  heart.  Now  that  your 
devotion  has  made  me  another  man,  it  seems  that  a  ray  of  hope 
glitters  in  the  future,  and  that  we  may  yet  have  happiness.  Come 
then,  dear  Laura  !  come  to  my  heart  and  let  us  try  to  forget.' 

'  Oh  !  father  !  dear  father  I  '  cried  liaura.  And  she  rushed  into 
her  father's  arms.  Mme.  de  la  Marche  leaned  towards  them,  and 
those  three  beings  who  had  been  so  sorely  tried,  found  intiuite  hap- 


170  A   MARTYR. 

piness  in  mingling  their  tears.  As  to  Sir  Ellas  Draok,  this  touch- 
ing scene  had  impressed  him  so  much,  in  spite  of  himself,  that  ho 
rushed  to  the  admiral,  and  unable  to  utter  a  sound  he  seized  his 
hands  and  shook  them  energetically.  Feeling  that  his  tears  w.  ukl 
betray  him,  he  rushed  out  of  the  house  and  started  towards  his  liotel 
on  foot,  (in  his  way,  he  was  making  a  very  judicious  observation, 
this  false  and  stoic  philosopher. 

'  What  this  old  admiral  has  done  is  well,  it  is  even  very  well. 
Why,  an  English  admiral  could  hardly  have  done  hotter,  my  W(jrd 
of  honor  !  But  didn't  he  say  he  had  been  con<|uere(l  by  his  daugh- 
ter's devotion  ?  Zounds  !  he  should  have  said  victorious.  This  de- 
feat does  him  more  credit  than  his  most  glorious  victories.  For  if 
it  is  a  success  to  concjuer  others,  it  is  a  greater  one  to  conquer  one- 
self.' 

Having  uttered  this  last  aphorism,  Sir  Elias  Drack  entered  the 
hotel,  and  called  at  the  oflice  to  see  if  there  was  a  letter  or  despatch, 
when  the  porter  came  up  to  him  : 

'  Sir,'  he  said,  'the  prince  is  here  and  has  been  waiting  for  you 
for  nearly  an  hour. ' 

*  The  prince  ?  what  prince  ?  asked  the  Englishman  with  astonish- 
ment. 

'  His  excellency  the  Indian  prince. ' 

'  Oh  !  yes,'  said  Mr.  Drack,  smiling,  'I  was  foigetting ' 

The  porter  admired  this  traveller,  who  must  have  a  terrible  lot 
of  fine  acquaintances  since  he  did  not  know  who  he  was  talking 
about  when  he  said  the  prince. 

'  His  excellency  is  in  your  apartments, '  said  the  porter.  *  Strangers 
are  not  generally  allowed  in  the  travellers'  rooms,  but  we  thought 
wo  might  let  his  excellency ' 

'  That's  all  right,'  said  Mr.  Drack.  '  That  animal  will  bo  very  ex- 
pensive,' he  thought  to  himself.  *  A  man,  who,  like  me,  knows  an 
Indian  prince,  is  obliged  to  give  enormous  gratuities  to  the  ser- 
vants, a  thing  altogether  contrary  to  the  principles  of  the  children 
of  such  a  great  country  as  England.' 

On  entering  his  room  the  good  man  looked  for  Maltar,  and  could 
not  see  him  at  first.  The  Indian  had  seated  himself  on  the  floor  in 
a  corner  and  was  fast  asleep.  However  he  awoke  at  the  noise  and 
jumped  up  suddenly,  excusing  himself  for  the  liberty  he  had  taken 
to  go  to  sleep. 

'  You  are  forgiven,'  said  the  Englishman.  '  1  know  too  well  where 
you  have  spent  your  nights  during  the  last  month,  not  to  under- 
stand that  you  have  a  good  deal  of  lost  sleep  to  catch  up.  Now  tell  mo 
what  brings  your  excellency  to  my  humble  room. ' 

*  I  have  come,'  said  Maltar,  '  to  tell  you  of  a  very  serious  danger 
which  threatens  my  young  mistress.' 


A   MARTYR.  177 

And  the  Indian  told  him,  that,  listening  at  the  doors,  ho  had  that 
very  nioniinif  overheard  a  conversation  Vjotween  his  master  and  M. 
Pahneri,  during  which  the  latter  had  called  upon  M.  de  Moray  to 
fulfil  the  promise'he  had  made  to  give  him  the  hand  of  his  daujjh- 
ter.  The  count,  it  seems,  had  asked  a  few  days'  respite,  which  the 
merciless  creditor  had  Hatly  refused. 

*  Ah  !  sir/  said  INIaltar,  'find  some  means  to  prevent  this  mar- 
riage. It  would  be  a  crime  to  sacrifico  tlio  young  mistreaa  to  this 
M.  Pahneri.' 

'  The  more  so  that  she  loves  another,  as  I  have  already  told  you, 
rejoined  the  Englishman. 

And  the  good  man  thought  to  himself  : 

*  Pahneri  !  Pahneri !  where  did  I  hear  that  name  ? ' 


VI. 

After  Mr.  Drack's  departure,  a  few  moments  of  delicious  emotion 
were  experienced  by  the  admiral,  his  wife  and  Laura.  A  servant 
interuptcd  them  suddenly. 

'Mile,  de  Moray  is  in  the  drawing-room,'  said  this  man,  'and 
she  wishes  to  know  if  M,  and  Mme   de  la  Marche  can  receive  her  I ' 

'  Paulette  ! '  cried  Laura,  pressing  her  hands  to  her  heart,  which 
was  ready  to  burst.  The  beloved  daughter  she  had  not  seen  for  a 
year  was  there  and  her  head  was  bowed  with  shame  at  the  thought 
of  seeing  her.  Tliia  thought  filled  her  soul  with  trouble.  The  deep 
emotion  she  felt  a  moment  before,  while  speaking  of  her  child,  was 
still  more  intense.  Unknown  to  her,  it  was  a  decisi 'e  trial.  Would 
her  reason,  already  shaken  come  out  victorious,  or  founder  entirely  ? 

Paulette  appeared  at  last.     At  the   sight  of  the  child  she  had 

left  sick  and  suffering,  and  who  had  become  a  woman  full  of  life 
and  radiant  with  beauty,  an  immense  joy  tilled  her  heart,  and  all 
her  fears  disappeared.  At  the  same  time,  by  a  phenomenon  similar 
to  the  one  by  which  she  had  lost  her  reason,  the  truth  flashed  on 
her  mind,  and  the  spectre  of  her  imaj^inary  shame  vanished.  She 
was  proud  of  that  splendid  creature  and  she  felt  herself  worthy  of 
being  her  mother.  Unable  to  utter  a  word,  her  lips  were  silently 
calling  her. 

'  Paulette  !  ray  beloved  ! '  she  whispered  at  last. 

*  Mother  !  dear  mother  !  '  cried  Paulette,  and  she  rushed  into 
her  arms.  And  their  kisses  mingled  with  their  tears.  And  each  of 
her  child's  caresses  tore  away  a  shred  of  the  veil  which  darkened 
the  poor  mother's  intellect.     The  darkness  brought  on  by  suffering 


178  A   MARTYR. 

had  beon  dispelled  by  maternal  love.  In  one  moment,  the  past  un- 
folded itself  before  her  eyes.  The  biirnt  letters,  Robert's  death, 
the  undeserved  accusation  brougi  .  against  her  and  accepted  by 
her  :  and  then  her  abandonment,  the  divorce,  she  remembered 
everything.  And  when  Paulette  became  indignant  bec.iuso  her 
father  would  not  jillow  their  meeting. 

'  Ah  ! '  she  cried,  'it  is  because  he  believes  me  guilty.' 

'  It  is  because  lie.  believes  you  guilty  !  '  repeated  M.  and  Mmc.  do 
la  Marche,  '  what  do  you  mean  ? ' 

They  asked  for  an  explanation,  and  she  had  made  up  her  mind 
to  tell  everything,  her  innocence  and  her  unhaj)piness,  when  she 
reinembered  the  threatening  words  of  the  admiral  :  '  I  would  have 
taken  a  more  terrible  revenge,  and  then  1  should  have  died  with 
despair  and  shame  ! '  Then  she  turned  her  eyes  full  of  tears  to- 
wards her  mother,  and  she  bowed  her  head,  as  if  confessing  her 
guilt  anew.  But,  again,  she  well  knew  that  she  was  innocent,  aiul 
she  felt  that  to  let  Paulette  suspect  and  despise  her  mother  would 
be  a  crime,  a  sacrilege.  She  prayed  to  be  left  alone  with  her.  Hit 
prayer  being  granted,  the  mother  sat  down,  while  Paulette  leaned 
on  her  knees,  the  same  as  she  used  to,  when,  a  little  child,  she 
was  saying  her  prayers,  morning  and  evening. 

'  Let  me  look  at  you  again  ! '  said  Laura,  '  how  beautiful  you 
have  become,  my  Paulette  !  How  I  love  you  ! ' 

'  And  how  I  love  you  also  !  '  repeated  Paulette  with  the  faithful 
accent  of  a  mysterious  echo.  '  But,  alas  !  how  you  have  changed  ! 
How  you  seem  to  have  suffered.  Your  features  bear  the  stamp  of 
sorrow,  and  your  eyes  the  traces  of  bitter  tears  !  Your  hair  has  be- 
come white.  Oh,  mother  !  mother  !  you  must  have  endured  terrible 
sufferings  since  such  a  change  has  been  made  in  you,  who  are  so 
young  yet  I ' 

'  You  cannot  imagine,'  said  Laura  with  a  bitter  smile,  '  the  suf- 
ferings I  have  borne. ' 

She  started  up.  Without  knowing  exactly  how  far  she  would  be 
taken  into  her  confidence,  she  felt  that  a  certain  explanatitm  was 
necessary  between  them,  and  that  the  time  had  come. 

'Answer  me,'  she  said.  'What  did  they  tell  you?  On  your 
arrival,  when  you  did  not  find  me  tl^ere  to  receive  you,  when  you 
saw  another  woman  bearing  my  name,  you  encpiired,  you  ques- 
tioned i     What  answer  did  you  receive  ? ' 

*  They  said  nothing,'  answered  Paulette,  letting  her  eyes  full  of 
her  pure  innocence  rest  on  her  mother.  '  Nothing.  'J'hey  have  told 
me  nothing.' 

'  Why,'  cried  Laura,  •  you  did  not  wish  to  know !  ' 

*  No  !  I  have  merely  suffered.  J  rrmember,  however,  that  when, 
trembling  with  despair,  I  asked  my  father  what  he  ci  mid  have  done 
to  cause  you   to  leave  his  house  and  break  the  ties  which  united 


A   MARTYR.  179 

you  ;  this  woman  you  speak  of,  who  bears  your  name,  and  who  had 
almost  the  audacity  to  wish  mo  to  call  her  mother  ! ' 

'  Oh,  the  wretch  ! '  thought  Laura  with  indignation. 

'  This  woman,  I  say,  commenced  I  know  not  what  revelation  in 
which  I  easily  understood  from  the  first  words,  that  she  was 
throwing  on  yoii  the  responsibility  of  all  that  had  happened.' 

'  Oh,  the  ip'.pious  woman  ! '  thought  Laura.  '  Denounce  a  mother 
to  her  own  daughtor  ! ' 

'  My  father  bade  her  to  be  silent,'  continued  Vaulette,  *  and  since 
that  day  they  told  me  nothing.  Moreover,  I  would  have  refused  to 
listen  to  anything.' 

Laura  was  thoughtful  for  a  moment.  She  was  thankful  to  Roger 
not  to  have  allowed  his  second  wife  to  dishonor  the  memory  of  the 
first  before  her  own  daughter.  However,  it  was  impossible  that 
Paulette  should  remain  any  longer  in  complete  ignorance.  She 
would  be  too  much  exposed  to  the  sufferings  that  an  indiscretion, 
even  involuntary,  might  bring  on. 

'  Listen,  my  child,'  she  said.  '  It  is  not  your  father,  as  your 
tenderness  for  me  made  you  suppose,  who  is  the  cause  of  our 
separation.' 

*  Ah  ! '  feebly  said  Paulette,  with  an  aching  heart. 

*  Terrible  charges  have  been  brought  against  me.  I  did  not  deny 
them  ;  neither  to  your  father,  nor  my  own  parents — nor  even  to 
justice  itself.' 

'  Why?     Since  those  charges  were  not  true  !' 

'  Dear  soul  ! '  said  Laura  with  emotion,  'blessed  be  you,  who 
affirm  my  innocence  without  even  knowing  the  fault  1  have  been 
accused  of  !  No,  I  did  not  deny  those  cruel  charges.  I  did  not  wish 
to,  and  I  could  not  then.  But  to-day  the  situation  is  changed  :  I 
cannot  consent  to  see  my  child  tempted  to  condemn  or  even  suspect 
me.  Listen  to  me,  then,  with  all  your  soul's  faith.  Recall  the 
sweet  memories  and  the  pious  thoughts  of  your  childhood  1 ' 

'  Mother,  I  am  listening. ' 

'  Remember  what  I  have  been  to  you  during  sixteen  years.  Re- 
member the  cares  I  lavished  on  you,  the  happiness  I  enjoyed  in 
loving  yoii,  the  immense  tenderness  I  surroxnided  you  with,  and  of 
which  we  alone  mysteriously  kept  the  secret,  as  if  afraid  others 
would  be  jealous.' 

'  Mother,  I  remember  all  that. ' 

'  Remember  my  solicitude  in  guiding  your  soul  towards  good,  in 
forming  your  heart  to  virtue,  in  unfolding  before  your  eyes,  and 
in  engraving  in  your  mind  the  sacred  sentiment  of  duty.' 

'  Yes,  mother,  1  remember,  and  I  venerate  and  admire  you  as 
much  as  I  adore  you  I ' 

'  Well,  remembering  all  that  1  have  recalled,  can  you  suppose 
that  such  a  mother  could  become  a  criminal  wife  ? ' 


180  A    MARTYU. 

'  A  criminal  wife  !  '  ropoatod  Paulotte.  *  Never  !  never  !  Yt)u 
only  accuse  yourself  to  force  me  to  answer  ?  No,  it  is  not  true  ; 
you  calumniate  yourself  !  Do  you  wish  to  know  my  whole  mind  / 
Well,  it  must  be  by  virtue.  It  was  in  obedience  to  some  sublime 
devotion  that  an  anjjel  such  as  yon  could  accuse  herself  ! ' 

*  Ah  !  pure  and  saintly  child  ! '  said  Laura,  moved  to  tears. 
*  Your  heart  understands,  and  the  cry  of  your  soul  has  redeemed 
all  my  past  sutFerings  !  Yes,  it  is  an  injporions  duty,  a  sacred  duty, 
which  has  kept  mo  silent.  Yon  have  said  it,  my  child.  Whon  I  ac- 
cused myself,  I  was  lying  ! ' 

*  But  why  ? ' 

*  I  wiis  lying  to  prevent  a  danger  a  hundred  times  more  torriblo 
than  the  one  which  threatened  me  ! ' 

*  And  you  have  taken  upon  yourself  alone  the  weight  of  a  fault 
you  were  innocent  of  ? ' 

*  No  !     Another  one  accused  himself  with  me  of  the  same  crime  1 ' 
'  And  this  other,  where  is  he  ? ' 

'  Alas  !  the  devotion  which  I  paid  with  my  honor  has  coat  him 
his  life  !  ' 

Paillette  turned  horribly  pale.  Until  then  the  pure  child  did  not 
have  a  just  notion  of  what  had  happened.  These  words  of  fault 
and  crime  did  not  offer  a  precise  sense  to  her  ear.  She  had  vaguely 
supposed  it  meant  some  sins  like  those  she  would  have  accused  her- 
self of  at  confession.  But  now  the  words  of  her  mother  over- 
whelmed her.  A  human  being  had  paid  with  his  life  his  pretended 
complicity  in  a  crime  avowed,  but  not  actually  committed. 

*  Another  !  Killed  !  Great  God  !  But  who  ? ' 

*  The  name  you  ask  is  a  secret  I  share  with  God  alone.  Even 
your  father  has  never  known  it.' 

'  But  for  whose  sake,  at  least,  did  you  bring  upon  your  head  the 
evil  which  was  to  make  two  victims  ? ' 

'  I  cannot  tell  you  that  either.  My  duty  was  to  reveal  the  whole 
secret  to  M.  de  Moray.  To  him  alone  belonged  the  right  to  de- 
cide what  was  expedient  to  suppress  and  to  divulge,  in  the  interest 
of  his  honor.  I  was  ready  to  fullil  that  duty  as  soon  as  I  found  my- 
self alone  with  him  ;  but  when  the  first  accusation  fell  upon  me, 
the  anger  of  my  husband  exploded  so  violently,  so  terribly,  the 
curse  of  my  father  was  so  withering  that  what  remained  in  me  of 
strength,  of  energy,  and  of  courage  was  suddenly  annihilated ;  I 
lost  my  head  ;  yes,  I  understand  now,  1  lost  my  reason ;  I  was 
mad  ! ' 

'  What  do  you  say  ? ' 

'  Yes,  mad  !  and  1  remained  in  that  state  until  I  saw  you  again  ; 
until  the  moment  your  looks,  your  kisses  and  caresses  redeemed  me. 

*  And  you  can  justify  youself,  now  ? ' 


A   MARTYR.  181 

'  Yes,  I  could  justify  uiysolf  ;  that  is  to  say,  inflict  on  M.  do 
Moray  the  romorao  of  havin<^  killed  an  innocent  man,  the  remorse 
of  having  shamefully  repudiated  me,  of  having  driven  me  away 
from  his  house  to  give  my  place  at  the  conjugal  hearth  to  a  stranger  ; 
I  could  do  all  that.  IJut  none  of  these  evils,  none  of  those  faults, 
can  be  repaired.  It  is  for  ever  that  an  impious  law  has  condemned 
me,  and  I  would  perhaps  lose,  alas  !  those  I  wish  to  save,  without 
dragging  myself  out  of  the  abyss  in  which  I  have  fallen  !  You,  my 
daughter,  you  must  forget  this  secret.  In  the  eyes  of  all  I  must  re- 
main what  I  seem  to  be  :  a  guilty  wife  justly  disgraced  ! ' 

'  However  ! ' 

*  It  is  my  will  !  Do  not  cause  me  to  regret  the  conhdence  I  have 
had  in  you  in  destroying  with  a  single  word  the  work  I  have  accom- 
plished. To  you  also  1  should  have  kept  silent.  But  I  am  a 
mother,  and  I  must  have  your  respect  as  well  as  your  love.  Un- 
doubtedly, you  said  I  was  incapable  of  doing  wrong,  but  that  was 
not  sufficient.  I  must  have  all  the  confidence  as  well  as  the  tender- 
dess  of  your  heart,  without  trouble,  regret,  or  afterthought.  Since 
I  am  always  your  mother,  you  must  know  how  to  defend  me,  in 
ycuir  heart,  if  ever  you  hear  it  said  that  I  have  avowed  the  crime. 
It  is  for  that  reason,  and  that  only,  that  I  have  told  you  that  my 
avowal  was  a  lie.  But,  once  more,  keep  preciously  the  secret  I 
have  confided  to  nobody,  not  even  to  my  judge.  You  promise, 
don't  you  ? ' 

'Mother!'  said  the  child,  with  solemn  gravity,  *I  shall  keep 
your  secret  piously.  I  shall  keep  it  without  understanding  what 
you  ask,  except  that  you  are  not  only  a  saint,  but  that  you  are  also 
a  martyr. ' 

*Yes,  a  martyr!'  murmured  Laura,  *a  martyr  to  a  sacred 
duty.' 

Paulette  suddenly  had  a  generous  impulse  of  indignation. 

'  And  my  father,'  she  cried,  could  not  discover  the  truth  ?  Ho 
has  believed  this  avowal  of  a  fault  which  did  not  exist.  Alas !  to 
cherish  you  still  more  than  I  do,  must  I  learn  to  love  him  less  1 ' 

Laura  had  the  loyalty  to  defend  the  man  who  had  caused  her  to 
endure  such  sufferings,  and  who  had  forgotten  her  so  (quickly  in  the 
arms  of  another. 

*  Do  not  accuse  your  father,'  she  simply  said  ;  '  he^haa  done  noth- 
ing which  exceeded  his  rights.  The  care  of  his  honor  has  dictated 
his  conduct.' 

The  conversation  had  lasted  for  a  long  time.  The  young  soul  of 
Paulette  was  not  enough  tempered  yet  to  support  without  danger 
the  terrible  emotions  of  which  her  mother  had  given  her  the  presenti- 
ment, without,  however,  revealing  them  altogether.  Laura  noticed 
the  paleness  of  her  face,  and  the  trembling  of  her  whole  frame. 
She  then  wished  to  engage  in  a  sweeter  conversation,  which  would 


182  A   MARTYT^. 

causo  tho   Hpriu}^  [lowor  to  regain  hor  hrightnusB,  as  if  tlio  huu'.i 
brilliant  rays  wore  succeeding  to  a  violent  storm. 

'Come,'  slie  said,  trying  to  smile,  'let  us  speak  (»f  yourself,  now. 
Tell  me  everything  that  has  happened  since  1  saw  you  ou  the  day 
1  deserted  you  to  save  yoi.r  father's  life,  leaving  you  to  the  care  of 
Aunt  Hasili(|ue ' 

'  Aunt  Hasili<|ue  !  '  interrupted  the  child,  whoso  eyes  lilled  with 
tears.     '  You  know,  mother  ? ' 

'Yes,  I  have  heard  of  her  death  on  reaching  port.  Alas!  poor 
Aunt  Hasili(iue!  she  loved  you  woll,  and  I  wept  over  her  as  if  slio 
had  still  been  my  sister.  But  s[)eak  to  me  of  the  bejiutiful country 
where  we  were  happy.  Speak  to  me  of  the  kind  friends  we  left  be- 
hind US.' 

A  crimson  blush  suffused  tho  cheeks  of  the  child,  and  she  com- 
menced an  adorable  confession,  the  confession  of  a  pure  love  for  a 
young  man  who  had  been  scj  good,  so  tenderly  affectionate  and  d*-- 
voted  when  she  had  found  herself  alone  in  IVmdichery.  Although 
the  chaste  young  girl  had  blushed  <m  thinking  of  Gaston  de  Val- 
lieres,  she  felt  no  embarrassment  in  telling  her  mother  of  the  senti- 
ments of  sweet  tenderness  for  him  which  filled  her  heart.  The 
purity  of  her  love  expressed  itself  without  fear,  with  a  serene  c(»n- 
tidence. 

'  Do  you  see,  mother,'  she  said,  with  a  beautiful  smile,  '  I  love  him 
so  much  that  1  would  rather  die  than  become  the  wife  of  another.' 

Laura  pressed  her  child  to  her  heart. 

'  Reassure  yourself,'  she  said,  '  M.  de  Vallitjres  will  be  your  hus- 
band. I  know  no  one  who  is  so  worthy  of  you  and  to  whom  I  would 
be  so  glad  to  confide  your  happiness.' 

A  short  time  after  these  two  beings,  who  loved  each  other  so  well, 
separated,  and  Paulette  returned  to  her  father's  house. 

We  will  also  return  to  M.  de  Moray's,  where  wo  have  not  been  for 
along  time.  Many  events  have  happened  since  the  previous  week. 
Roger  had  seen  his  honor  compromised  by  the  failure  of  the  Indo- 
Marseillaise  bank.  We  are  acquainted  with  most  of  of  them.  They 
have  been  told  us  incidentally,  thanks  to  the  intervention  of 
Maltar. 

The  Indian  had  informed  M.  de  la  Marche  of  the  death  of  Aunt 
Basilic) ue.  M.  de  Moray  had  been  with  his  sister  at  her  last  mo- 
ments, having  been  calk  \  to  Marseilles  by  the  care  of  his  interests 
through  the  failure  of  the  bank.  The  Indian  had  also  informed  Sir 
Elias  Drack  of  the  project  in  view  against  Paulette,  which  threat- 
ened to  give  to  Annibal  Palmeri  a  heart  already  disposed  of  in 
favor  of  M.  de  Vallieres.  Maltar  had  learned  this  project  through 
eaves-dropping.  This  was  undoubtedly  a  grave  violation  of  profes- 
sional duty,  but  Maltar  was  conscious  that  he  was  not  betraying  M. 
de  Moray  in  trying  to  discover  the  intrigues  which  surrounded  him. 


A   MARTVR.  183 

Mis  iiiHtinct  liiid  told  liiiii  that  thu  inastor  wivh  thu  proy  of  infamous 
cliiinictiirs,  and  lie  wasBpyiiij^  tluMU  todiHcovur  tlio  means  to  open  the 
uyoH  of  tlio  count.  Tliu  known  siipplunesa  and  cunning  of  thupooplu 
of  his  race  mado  this  spying  very  easy.  Every  Indian  covers  an  acro- 
bat. For  tliose  people  there  is  no  dillictdty  in  enterin<^  rooms  and  in 
closing  and  openini,'  doors  without  being  seen  or  heard.  Maltar, 
then,  had  heard  the  whole  conversation  between  M.  de  Moray  and 
Palmeri,  and  he  had  told  the  principal  i)arts  of  it  to  Mr.  Drack.  This 
conversation  had  been  very  painful  to  M.  de  Moray.  He  had  re- 
turned from  Marseilles  very  much  affected  by  the  emt)tion8  of  his 
trip.  The  deatli  of  his  sister,  and  the  contirnuition  of  his  total  ruin, 
had  completely  demoralized  him.  Anotlier  cause  of  anxiety,  the 
future  of  Paulotte,  had  increased  the  tro\ible  of  his  mind.  A  few 
moments  l»efore  dying,  Aunt  Basilitpjo  had  exchanged  supremo 
confidences  with  her  brother.  In  the  midst  of  the  heart-rendings  of 
their  separation,  the  poor  woman  had  told  him  that  she  had  at  least 
the  consolation  of  being  able  to  depend  on  the  happiness  of  Pau- 
lotte. And  with  the  authority  which  the  approach  of  <ieath  gives  to 
the  words  of  those  who  leave  us,  Aunt  Basiliciue  had  entreated  M. 
de  Moray  to  entrust,  as  soon  as  possible,  tlie  fate  of  his  da\ightor  to 
an  honest  and  loyal  young  man  who  would  love  her. 

*  [  cannot  judge,'  she  liad  said,  'how  far  you  were  right  to  re- 
place so  quickly  the  guilty  woman  you  have  just  repudiated.  Hut, 
knowing  the  tenderness  of  Pauletto  for  her  mother,  I  can  easily 
guess  the  numberless  causes  of  suffering  which  await  her  \inder 
your  roof,  where  a  stranger  rules.  Then  give  her  soon  the  husband 
she  will  desire  and  love.  Every  minute  of  delay  you  cause  to  this 
union  means  an  increase  of  sorrow  which  you  would  impose  upon 
her.' 

She  did  not  say  any  more.  She  would  not  betray  the  secret  of 
Paulette's  heart,  reserving  to  the  young  girl  the  sweet  contidence  of 
her  love.  On  his  side,  not  to  trouble  the  last  moments  of  his  sister, 
M.  de  Moray  did  not  acquaint  her  with  the  engagement  he  had 
made  three  or  four  days  before,  concerning  Paulette,  with  Annibal 
Palmeri.  He  let  her  die  in  the  false  confidence  of  the  near  realiza- 
tion of  the  project  she  had  already  formed  months  before.  Never- 
theless this  advice  in  extremis  made  him  understand  the  gravity  of 
the  situation.  Certainly  the  project  of  a  marriage  between  his 
daughter  and  Annibal  had  not  been  accepted  by  him  without  a  strug- 
gle. Everything  that  was  revolting  in  such  an  union  had  been 
apparent  to  his  mind  the  very  first  moment  Palmeri  had  made  his 
intentions  known.  But  the  reader  will  remember  undor  what 
circumstances  this  project  had  been  proposed.  His  life,  his  honor 
itself  was  condemned.  Between  two  evils  he  had  chosen  the  one 
which  then  appeared  the  least.  Furthermore,  he  had  not  disposed 
of  the  hand  of  Paulette  without  restriction,  and  if  he  had  known 


184  A    MAIITYR. 

thai  hIiu  liud  dispouud  uf  huruulf,  his  wuuknusH  would  huvo  uppuured 
to  him  liku  a  crime. 

Ho  \va8  very  much  enibjirrassed  when  on  the  moniim,'  <tf  his  re- 
turn, Annihal  came  to  remind  iiim  of  his  pi-omise.  He  took  up  the 
question  of  liis  marriage  with  raulette  atpiarely,  and  wished  her 
father  to  make  the  overture  to  her  on  that  very  day. 

'  Not  to-day,'  answennl  llof^er,  tired  out,  'I  pray  you,  not  to- 
day.    Give  me  at  least  a  few  days.' 

'  My  dear  sir,'  coolly  said  the  Italian,  *  when  you  had  to  be  saved 
from  ruin,  I  asked  you  neither  a  few  days  nor  a  few  hours  ;  I  came 
to  you  open-handed  and  I  said  :  Here  is  salvation,  and  here  is  the 
condition  on  which  I  otl'er  it  ;  you  have  accepted,  then  it  is  well 
understood.     You  will  speak,  this  very  day,  to  Miss  I'aidetto. ' 

*  I  have  j.(iven  you  my  word,' answered  the  count,  broken-hearted,' 
and  since  you  desire  it,  I  shall  keep  it.' 

Such  was  the  conversation  which  Mai  tar  had  overheard  and  trans- 
mitted to  Sir  Eliaa  Drack  ;  but  what  the  Indian  did  not  know,  since 
he  had  started  almost  at  once  for  the  hotel  du  Lovivre,  was  that  M. 
de  Moray  had  asked  his  wife  to  obtain  from  Annibal  the  delay  of 
a  few  days  which  he  had  vainly  solicited.  To  his  astonishment 
and  to  his  deep  regret  Claudia  refused  point-blank.  The  triumph- 
ant pride  of  the  adventuress  had  received  a  terrible  wound  at  the 
hands  of  hor  husband's  daughter  The  disdain,  the  hatred  which 
the  child  had  shown,  and  which  nothing  could  curb,  had  re-kindled 
in  the  breast  of  the  Neapolitan  the  bitterness  hardly  extinguished 
yet  of  her  painful  beginnings  in  Paris.  If  she  could  not  bend 
Pauletto  before  her,  Gorgon  woidd  break  her. 

Thus  the  attempt  made  by  M.  de  Moray  to  obtain  the  interven- 
tion of  his  wife  unfortunately  resulted  contrary  to  what  he  expected. 
The  more  the  unhappy  father  defended  his  daughter,  the  more  ho 
injured  her.  It  was  exactly  because  a  hasty  union  imposed  on 
Pauletto  on  the  morrow  of  the  day  she  had  learned  the  disaster  of 
her  mother  would  be  cruel  to  the  child  that  the  countess  was  re- 
joicing to  see  the  celebration  of  the  marriage  hastened.  And  it 
was  also  because  it  was  odious  to  impose  her  own  brother  as  a  hus- 
band upon  the  unfortunate  child  that  she  imperiously  invoked  the 
realization  f)f  the  word  given  to  Annibal.  M.  de  Moray,  seeing  the 
uselessness  of  his  efforts,  retired  with  sadness.  An  unexpected  en- 
counter, as  he  was  coming  out  of  the  apartment  of  the  countess, 
caused  him  a  great  emotion.  He  was  crossing  the  parlor  when  he 
found  himself  face  to  face  with  Pauletto,  who  was  returning  from 
her  visit  to  her  grandfather's.  He  thought  it  was  chance  that  had 
brought  her  into  his  presence,  and  that  liB  must  acquaint  her  at 
once  with  her  fate.  Putting  his  arm  affectionately  round  her 
waist,  he  brought  her  to  his  room. 

*  Coine  with  me,'  he  said  ;  '  I  have  something  to  say  to  you.' 


A    MAIITVII.  IS.' 

Paulotto  Imd  not  yet  taken  her  honnot  off,  when  the  count  Hpoko 
to  luT  : 

*  You  have  been  out  with  your  maid  / ' 
'  Yt'«,  father  ;  but ' 

'This girl  is  not  tho  companion  you  want,  I  ki-.ow  ;  but  it  is  only 
for  a  short  tiTuo.  You  will  soon  have  a  govornoss.  IJut  you  did 
iKit  toll  nio  whore  you  have  been  / ' 

'  1  wont  to  j^randfathor's.' 

*  Ah  !  you  went  to  see  yoiir  grand- parents  ? ' 

*  Yes.     You  ch)  not  forbid  me  to  go  there,  do  you  ? ' 

In  asking  this  (juestion  Pa'.dotte'a  voice  was  full  of  anxiety.  It 
was  not  only  hor  grand-parents  she  could  not  set;,  if  slui  had  bo*^n 
forbidden  to  go,  it  was  also  her  mother.  Ha[»pily  M.  do  Moray 
reassured  her. 

'  Oh  !  no,'  ho  said  (piickly.  '  It  would  cause  you  too  much  \y.ii\i. 
Yoji  will  go  and  see  thom  as  often  as  you  like  ;  even  to-morrow,  if 
you  wish.' 

Paulotte  threw  her  arms  around  her  father's  neck  in  a  sincere 
hurst  of  gratitude.  Roger  kept  his  daughter  close  to  him  and  looked 
at  her  with  a  mixture  of  love  and  deep  pity,  it  seeuutd  cruel  to 
him  to  choose  exactly  the  moment  she  was  more  loving  than  usual 
to  ac(|uaint  her  with  the  terrible  news. 

'  I  love  you  when  you  are  like  your  old  self,'  he  said  with  tender- 
ness. '  It  is  the  first  timti  in  eight  days  that  I  find  in  your  eyes  a 
little  of  your  old  love.' 

*  It  is  because  this  is  the  first  time  we  find  ourselves  aU)ne  to- 
gether, as  of  old. ' 

Paulette  thought  she  was  saying  the  whole  truth  to  her  father  in 
reproaching  him  indirectly  with  never  having  dared  to  seek  to  see 
hot  alone.  But  she  was  mistaken.  It  was  because  she  had  had 
during  the  day  the  supreme  joy  of  seeing  her  mother  again  that  her 
soul  was  more  open  to  sentiments  of  love.  Such  was  the  sweetness 
of  their  interview  that  M.  de  Moray  had  not  the  courage  to  end  it 
by  a  thunderl)olt.  On  the  other  hand  he  felt  a  sort  of  conscious 
hhame,  which  made  him  blush  at  the  mere  thought  of  the  words  ho 
would  use  to  make  Paulette  .accjuaiuted  with  tho  name  of  the  hus- 
band he  intended  to  give  her. 

'  No,'  he  said  to  himself  at  last.  '  I  shall  never  be  able,  and  I  will 
leave  to  others  the  task  of  telling  the  cruel  necessities  to  which  I 
have  to  submit,  and  they  will  reveal  the  truth  to  Paulette.  I  shall 
go  to  the  admiral's  to-morrow,  and  ask  him  to  speak  to  my 
daughter  for  me.' 

This  idea  of  making  M.  and  Mme.  de  la  Marcho  tho  missionaries 

of  the  painful  revelation  he  diil  dare  to  make,  eased  the  mind  of  M. 

de  Moray.     He  knew,  too  well,  the  rigid  princi|jle3  of  the  atlmiral 

concerning  honor,  not  to  be  certain  that  th«  old  soldier  would  ap« 

L 


186  A   MARTYR. 

prove  of  his  sacriticiiig  everything  to  the  fiflory  of  his  name.  And 
then  the  public  approval  which  M.  de  la  Marche  would  give  to  the 
marriage  of  his  grand-daughter  with  M.  Annibal  Palineri  would 
have  a  good  effect.  It  would  be  a  great  moral  support  for  the 
divorced  husband,  whom  many  people  would  be  disposed  to  blame 
at  seeing  the  child  of  the  first  wife  enter  his  new  family.  The  com- 
bination appeared  excellent  in  every  way,  and  the  next  day  Roger 
went  out  on  his  errand.  The  admiral  had  just  gone  out.  As  Roger 
appeared  to  be  very  much  annoyed  at  this  mishap,  the  servant 
asked  him  if  he  would  not  come  in,  and  await  the  return  of  his 
master. 

*  Very  well,'  said  the  count,  '  I  shall  wait.' 

'  Shall  I  tell  Madam  ? '  asked  the  servant  with  a  little  embarrass- 
ment. 

'  Yes,'  answered  M.  de  Moray,  who  had  a  great  veneration  for 
the  admiral's  wife.     'See  if  she  will  receive  me.' 

A  mistake  had  just  been  made.  In  the  servant's  mind,  the  word  : 
Madam  had  a  sense  which  M.  de  Moray  could  not  understand.  It 
was  only  the  day  before  that  Laura  had  succeed' •jd  in  vanquishing 
the  merciless  severity  of  her  father.  The  joy  of  the  poor  woman  in 
finding  herself  amid  those  surroundings  of  love  and  honor,  was  so 
great  that  she  had  not  strength  enough  to  tear  herself  away.  She 
took  possession  of  a  vacant  room  in  the  house,  and  such  is  the 
force  of  illusion,  that  on  the  night  which  followed  her  return,  her 
imagination  carried  her  twenty  years  backwards,  when  a  happy 
young  girl,  she  was  dreaming  of  the  husband,  for  whom  to-day 
she  was  wearing  a  mourning  more  cruel  than  that  of  death. 

Be  it  as  it  may,  on  seeing  at  a  few  hours'  interval  his  master's 
daughter,  and  the  man  who  had  been  her  husband  so  long,  the  ser- 
vant had  established  a  connection  easily  explained  between  the  re- 
turn of  the  one  and  the  visit  of  the  other.  So,  in  saying  :  '  Shall 
I  tell  Madam  ? '  he  meant  Laura.  It  was  not  possible,  however, 
that  the  count  should  understand  the  phrase  as  it  had  been  pro- 
nounced. Madam,  in  the  house  of  Mme.  de  la  Marche,  could  only 
be  Mme.  de  la  Marche  herself.  Moreover,  Roger  knew  that  the 
admiral  had  mercilessly  closed  his  door  against  his  g'.nlty  daughter, 
and  he  had  not  learnt  the  incidents  which  had  caused  that  door  to 
be  opened.  The  reader  may  judge  of  his  sudden  emotion  on  see- 
ing before  him  Laura.  Yes,  Laura  herself !  At  the  sight  of  the 
woman  he  had  in  turn  so  ardently  loved  and  so  deeply  hated, 
Roger  felt  a  sort  of  trembling  agitation  of  all  his  nerves.  He 
thought  he  was  going  to  fall. 

*  You  ! '  he  cried,  throwing  his  arms  forward,  as  if  to  repulse  a 
threatening  vision.     '  You  !  you  !  in  this  house  ! ' 

We  have  shown  the  emotion  felt  by  M.  de  Moray  at  this  meet- 
ing, but  we  have  not  had  occasion  to  speak  of  the  wondrous  power 


A   MARTYR.  187 

of  will  which  Laura  had  to  appeal  to,  in  order  to  meet  her  hus- 
band. The  gorvaiit  w<u}  very  much  troubled  himself  when  he  camo 
to  her  and  told  her  : 

'  Madam,  M.  de  Moray  asks  if  Madam  is  willing  to  receive  him.' 
Laura  had  been  very  much  astonished  at  the  reciuest  brou;;ht 
by  the  servant,  and  in  spite  of  all,  she  had  hesitated.  To 
see  as  a  stranger  the  man  she  had  loved  so  much,  the  man  she 
loved  yet,  seemed  an  ordeal  beyond  her  strength.  However,  since 
he  asked  to  see  her,  he  must  have  very  grave  reasons.  Then  how 
could  she  refuse  to  grant  a  necessary  interview  ?  Perhaps  it  was  on 
account  ot  her  dauglitor  ?  She  was  thus  deceiving  herself  ;  but  in 
reality  she  said  to  herself,  at  the  bottom  of  her  heart,  that  Roger 
was  there  ;  Roger  through  whom  she  had  known  her  greatest  joys 
and  her  greatest  sorrows  ;  Roger,  lastly,  the  father  of  her  child. 
There  stood  only  the  thickness  of  a  door  bet  ^en  them.  She  opened 
it  at  last.  She  was  coming  to  this  interview,  thinking  she  had  been 
called  to  it.  The  first  words  of  M.  de  Moray  undeceived  her  and 
she  understood  that  a  mistake  had  occurred. 

*  You  ! '  cried  Roger  with  terror  depicted  in  his  face.  *  What 
are  you  doing  in  this  house  ? ' 

This  you  which  Roger  had  said  with  such  terror  was  like  the 
stroke  of  a  whip  lashing  her  across  the  face.  There  was  everything 
in  that  exclamation  :  fright,  anger,  threats,  contempt.  There  was 
everything  but  peace,  pardon,  and,  chiefly,  repentance.  Struck  to 
the  heart,  she  stopped  short.  Was  it  thus  that  she  was  to  see  him 
for  the  first  time  I  But  she  had  sufl'ered  so  much  and  so  long  already, 
that  she  was  used  to  suflerings.     She  submitted. 

*  You  have  driven  me  away  from  your  own  house,'  she  said  with 
sadness  full  of  dignity.     '  Have  you  come  here  to-day  yourself  to 

eproach  my  father  and  my  mother  because  they  have  opened  theirs 
^o  me  i  If  it  is  so,  and  if  you  exact,  for  the  satisfaction  of  your 
•anger,  that  my  solitude  should  be  eternal,  I  will  obey  and  I  will 
return  to  my  abandonment.  What  must  I  do  I  What  do  you  com- 
mand ? ' 

This  voluntary  submission  to  a  master  who  had  freed  her  from 
all  duty  to  himself  by  breaking  all  the  ties  which  imited  them  to 
each  other,  touched  M.  de  Moray  more  deeply  than  he  cared  to  ac- 
knowledge. 

'  I  have  not  the  right,'  he  said  with  en  eflfort  at  rudeness,  *  to 
regulate  your  life  now.  But  if  I  had  known  that  you  were  here,  I 
wojild  not  have  sent  my  daughter,  and  I  would  not  have  come 
myself. 

'  Alas  ! '  answered  Laura  in  a  low  voice,  '  yimr  daughter  !  She  is 
mine  also  as  much  as  yours,  but  I  do  not  think  of  disputing  for  her 
with  you.  It  is  doubtless  a  fatal  mistake  which  has  placed  us  in 
each   other's   presence.     You  will    perhaps  take  advantage  of  this 


188  A   MARTYR. 

error  to  deny  me  the  right  to  see  Panlette  again  for  a  long  time  ! 
Well,  you  must  ho  satisfied,  and  having  nothiui^  olse  to  impose  to 
make  me  suffer  still  more,  you  will  allow  me  retire.' 

She  made  a  motion  to  retire.  In  spite  of  himself,  and  as  if 
carried  away  by  an  invincible  force,  M.  do  Moray  stopped  hur  with 
a  word. 

*  Stay  ! '  he  said. 

*  You  wish  me  to  stay  ! '  she  said  astonished.  *  Why  I  What  c  m 
be  common  between  us  he'kuafter  ]  The  divorce  is  the  abyss  which 
divides  us.  The  sight  of  me  alone  is,  I  know,  an  outrano  to  you, 
as  the  sight  of  your  face  is  an  ordeal  beyond  my  strength  !  Let  mo 
go  away  ! ' 

'  No.  Stay  !  if  only  for  an  instant.  Since  chance  has  pJaced  us  in 
each  otlior's  presence,  we  might  as  well  take  advantage  of  our  moot- 
ing to  settle,  once  for  all,  the  only  ({uostion  which  can  interest  botli 
of  us  hereafter,  our  daughter. ' 

*  What  more  can  you  say  than  I  have  said  myself  I '  painfully 
asked  Laura.  *  Your  anijer  is  still  bitter  enough  to  impose  upon  iik>, 
as  a  sort  of  posthumous  chastisement,  the  order  not  to  see  my 
daughter  again.  I  have  told  you  that  1  would  submit  to  this  excess 
of  severity,  not  through  loss  of  love  for  my  child,  God  knows  !  but 
to  spare  Paulette  even  the  temptation  of  a  struggle  with  your  will  ! 
J  ask  you  again  what  more  do  you  want  / ' 

*  I  want  you  to  thoroughly  understand,'  said  M.  do  Moray  with 
agitation,  '  that  it  is  not  through  a  barbarous  feeling  of  auger  that  I 
am  acting,  as  you  seem  to  think  at  this  moment.  The  judgment 
which  has  pronounced  an  eternal  separation  between  us,  has  decided 
also  that  the  jfuardianship  of  Paulette,  as  well  as  the  conduct  of 
her  life,  should  belong  to  me  alone.  This  judgment  has  decided 
thus  to  protect  against  yourself,  against  the  attraction  of  your  love 
for  your  daughter,  against  the  attraction  of  my  own  weakness,  per- 
haps, the  future  and  the  honor  of  a  child  whom  the  infection  of 
your  tarnished  honor  would  compromise  for  ever  ! ' 

*  Oh  !  '  thought  Laura  struck  to  the  heart.  '  I  had  not  thought 
of  this  heaping  ignominy,  that  my  contact  could  ever  appear  a  threat 
of  corruption  and  a  cause  of  shame  to  my  daughter  ! ' 

'  And  then  to  conclude,'  continued  Roger,  getting  more  and  more 
angry,  although  he  was  not  being  contradicted,  *  the  judgment  has 
decided  thus,  in  order  that  the  betrayed  husband,  every  time  he 
shall  put  his  lips  on  his  child's  forehead,  may  not  find  there  the 
trace  of  the  kisses  of  the  guilty  wife  !  ' 

*  Guilty  !  The  mother  at  least  was  not,  if  the  wife  was  ! '  Laura 
could  not  help  saying, 

'  Yon  were  her  mother  only  because  you  were  my  wife,'  answered 
Roger.  U  is  impossible  to  punish  the  •  lO  without  striking  the  other. 
So  much  the  worse  for  ^ou  I ' 


A   MARTYR.  189 

'  Ah  ! '  said  Laura,  trombling  under  hia  cruelty,  '  what  sort  of  a 
laau  have  you  become  ?' 

*  I  have  become  the  man  you  have  made  me. 
'  I  !  how  i '  asked  the  martyr  with  anxiety. 

*  Yes,  you  !  The  deeper  u\y  affection  and  my  respect  have  been 
for  you,  the  greater  the  anger  they  have  awakened  in  me  !  Do  not 
try  to  implore  my  pity  ;  it  would  bo  useloas  !  * 

Nothing  could  increase  the  sutrerings  inHicted  upon  the  martyr 
in  the  present,  but  the  violence  of  M.  de  Moray  reflected  on  the 
past.     A  cry  of  protestation  esci^oed  from  her  lips. 

*  And  you  I  '  she  cried,  '  do  not  speak  of  the  love  you  pretend  to 
have  felt  for  me  !  The  man  who  persecutes  me  in  the  way  you  are 
doing  aft«r  having  inflicted  so  much  evil,  this  man,  I  say,  has  never 
loved  me  ! ' 

At  these  words,  Roger  forgot  everything  else  to  remember  only 
one  thi,ng  that  was  true  ;  it  was  that  for  many  long  years,  he  had 
borne  to  Laura  a  boundless  love.  He  uttered  a  heart-icnding 
la  igh. 

'  She  dares  to  say  that  I  did  not  love  her  ! '  he  cried,  '  she  dares 
to  say  that  ! ' 

He  raised  his  arms  as  if  to  call  heaven  to  witness  the  injustice  of 
such  an  accusation. 

'  She  dares  to  say  that '  he  repeated.  *  1  I  I  who  had  given  her 
all  my  life  I  1  whose  love  an<l  respect  repulsed  from  my  heart  all 
teioptaticms  and  attractions  I  For  it  is  true.  1  had  subdued  every- 
thing, coiupiered  every  pjvssion.  while  she  was  betraying  me  basely, 
»iot  thinking  that  I  mi^ht  die  of  her  treachery  ! ' 

The  words  of  M.  de  Moray  could  not  convince  Laura.  The  bru- 
tality of  the  facts  gave  them  the  lie  in  her  eyes. 

*  Die  of  my  treachery,'  she  said  with  a  painful  smile.  '  You  con- 
soled yourself  too  (juickly  ;  the  danger  was  not  great,' 

M.  de  M(jray  drew  near  her,  with  his  teeth  set,  hissing  his  words 
rather  than  pronouncing  them. 

*I  have  married  the  other  too  (juickly  !  Tiiat's  what  you  mean, 
is  it  not  ?  But  who  tells  you  that  in  my  liaste  there  was  not  more 
desire  for  revenge  and  a  challenge  thrown  at  my  own  sorrow  T 

*  Nonsense  I '  cried  Laura,  drawing  nearer  to  Roger,  as  he  had 
done  himself.  'You  loved  that  wtmian  before  you  thought  you  had 
any  cause  of  revenge  against  me.' 

*  Even  admitting  that  I  had  loved  her,'  answered  the  count,  '  I 
swear  before  God  who  hears  me,  I  swear  that  1  had  victoriously  re- 
sisted all  the  attractions  which  were  dmgging  me  to  her.  But  no  I ' 
he  cried,  striking  the  floor  with  his  foot  as  if  to  better  attest  the 
truth  of  his  word,  '  it  is  false  !  I  did  not  love  her.  I  understood  my 
error  too  well  by  the  terrible  sufferings  I  endured  at  the  discovery 
of  your  crime. ' 


190  A  MARTYR. 

A  fouliuj^  of  egotistical  j<ty  fiUod  tho  heart  of  Laura. 
'  Ah  ! '  she  said  almoat  faiz»tii)g,  *  is  it  very  truo  that  you  have  suf- 
fered so  much  1 ' 

lloger  seized  her  roughly  by  the  wrist. 

*  Ah  ! '  he  answered,  *  do  you  think  that  I  could,  without  despair 
and  without  weeping  tear  from  my  heart  the  niots  of  a  love  which 
had  grown  for  eighteen  years  ? ' 

Laura  was  drinking  his  words.  They  entered  her  ears  like  a 
delicious  music.  In  living  over  again  tho  love  of  tho  pant,  it  almost 
seemed  to  her  a  new  love.  She  insisted,  abandoning  her  arm  to 
the  hand  which  clasped  it  as  a  vice,  enjoying  this  physical  suftering 
better  than  a  caress. 

'  Is  it  very  true  also  that  you  have  wept  so  much  1 '  she  mut- 
tered. 

Roger  stepped  back  a  little,  placing  himself  in  the  light  afforded 
by  the  window. 

*  Look  at  me  ! '  he  said  in  a  low  voice.  *  Look  at  my  emaciated 
face,  at  my  sunken  eyes,  at  my  hair — white,  but  not  by  age — and 
do  not  ask  any  more  if  I  have  suffered.  The  wreck  you  are  looking 
on  is  tho  work  of  one  day.  In  a  few  hours  you  have  made  me  an 
old  man.     Ah  !  yes,  I  must  have  loved  you  to  suffer  so  much  ! ' 

'  And  now  ]  *  asked  Laura,  panting,  *  instead  of  that  love  ? ' 

*  Instead  of  that  love,'  cried  Roger  with  violence,  throwing  from 
him  tho  arm  he  had  bruised.  *  Instead  of  that  love,  it  is  hatred 
which  fills  my  heart.  Yes  I  I  hate  you  with  all  the  strength  of  my 
lost  happiness,  of  my  profaned  memories,  of  my  broken  hopes  !  I 
hate  you  !  do  you  hear  me  !  I  hate  you  ! ' 

Laura  could  not  be  mistaken,  and  her  joy  exploded  in  a  burst 
which  she  could  not  have  withheld  even  at  the  cost  of  her  life. 

*  You  hate  me  ! '  she  critd  ;  *  you  hate  me  !  Ah  !  repeat  those 
words  again,  which  resound  in  my  heart  like  the  sweetest  accents  of 
love.  I  thought  I  was  indifferent  to  you,  and  it  was  killing  me.  But 
now  I  can  live,  your  anger  and  your  threats  have  revived  my  cour- 
age.   Ah  !  if  you  did  not  love  me,  you  would  not  hate  me  so  much.' 

Roger  staggered  a  few  steps  backwards.  He  did  not  have  the 
strength  to  protest. 

*  I — I — '  he  said  stammering,  *I  would  be  cowardly  enough.' 

*  Yes  I  she  retorted,  walking  towards  him,  *  yes,  you  love  me  al- 
ways. We  are  still  tied  to  each  other  by  this  love  which  you  com- 
mand, but  which  does  not  obey.  Do  now  what  you  will.  Every- 
thing that  will  come  from  you  will  be  good  and  sweet,  even  your 
anger,  even  your  rigor,  even  your  acts  of  violence  !  ' 

*  Be  quiet ! '  cried  Roger,  distracted,  *  in 'the  name  of  heaven,  be 
quiet ! ' 

But  Laura  had  suffered  too  much  not  to  abandon  herself  entirely 
to  the  joys  of  this  unexpected,  unhoped-for  victory. 


A   MARTYR.  101 

'  That  I  shuuld  be  silent !  '  she  said,  raising  her  head  with  a  ges- 
ture of  triumph.  '  Whatever  you  may  do  now,  you  belong  to  me  by 
that  love  which  you  vainly  attempt  to  deny,  and  which  your  whole 
being  proclaims.  Do  what  you  will,  I  tell  you,  it  matters  not. 
Tear  your  daughter  away  from  my  arms,  keepher  for  yourself  alone  I 
It  is  my  features  you  will  see  when  your  eyes  rest  upon  her  ;  it  will 
be  my  kisses  which  you  will  find  on  her  lips,  and  you  will  return 
them  to  me  in  giving  her  yours. ' 

M.  de  Moray  was  trying  to  run  away,  leaning  on  the  furniture, 
against  the  walla,  beating  the  air  with  his  arms,  and  sustaining 
against  himself  a  struggle  still  more  desperate  than  the  one  he  was 
fighting  with  Laura. 

'  Be  silent ! '  he  implored  once  more.  '  Don't  you  see  that  I  am 
becoming  mad.' 

*  I  will  be  silent,'  said  Laura,  '  on  one  condition.  Dare  to  tell  me 
you  do  not  love  me  ! ' 

He  tried  to  lie  a  last  time. 

*  I  do  not ' 

But  his  strength  failed  him  ;  he  could  not  finish  the  perjury. 

*  Yes!  yes! '  he  said,  falling  on  his  knees.  *  Yes!  in  spite  of  your 
treachery,  in  spite  of  myself,  in  spite  of  my  shame,  and  in  spite  of  the 
revolt  of  my  honor,  I  must  make  the  avowal.  It  is  mean  and  cow- 
.wdly,  but  since  you  force  me  to  it,  hear  then  the  words  which  you 
tear  from  my  heart  after  having  broken  it  :  "I  love  you  !  I  love 
you  always!  "  ' 

For  a  moment  Laura  felt  a  mad  temptation  to  accord  "  ♦rue  avowal 
of  a  lover,  the  confidence  she  had  refused  to  the  rage  of  the 
outraged  husband.  It  was  sufficient  for  her  to  cry  out :  *  Yes,  love 
me  !  You  have  a  right  to  do  sol  I  did  not  betray  you!'  and  he 
would  have  believed  her.  But  what  good  would  it  do  today  ]  This 
cry  of  her  innocence  would  remain  without  efFect  since  the  husband 
who  had  spoken  with  such  a  powerful  passion  had  contracted  new 
engagements.  And  the  danger  remained  the  same  for'tlie  honor  of 
her  mother.  So  she  resigned  herself  once  more,  but  this  time,  it 
was  with  a  deep  and  tender  sweetness. 

'  We  can  leave  each  other,'  she  said,  *  and  even  we  may  not  meet 
again  ;  I  shall  keep  mysteriously,  like  a  treasure,  the  secret  of  your 
own  heart.  Perhaps  we  shall  not  see  each  other  a;^ain  in  this  world. 
But  no  matter  how  long  the  separation  of  life  may  be,  it  is  but  a 
second  in  comparison  to  the  eternity  when  our  two  souls  will  be  for- 
ever united.     Farewell,  Roger!  you  love  me,  and  I  adore  you! ' 

The  noise  of  steps  separated  them.  The  admiral  and  his  wife 
were  entering  the  room.  On  his  arrival  the  old  sailor  had  been  told 
by  a  servant  of  the  presence  of  M.  de  Moray  in  the  parlor.  Aston- 
ished and  even  troubled  on  hearing  that  an  interview  was  taking 
place  between  their  daughter  and  the  man  they  used  to  call  their 


192  A   MARTYK. 

Hoii-iii-law,  thu  uld  couplo  liad  rosolvetl  not  to  intorfero.  Hut  oti 
tiinu  paHSiu),  (huir  aiixiuty  had  iiiuroist^d  and  tliuy  ducidud  to  go  to 
thu  liulj)  of  Laura,  whose  situation  must  bo  very  painful,  face  to  face 
with  the  man  who  had  repudiated  her.  To  rt-joiu  their  dauj^hter 
they  even  left  alone  a  person  who  was  in  their  room.  On  enterin<{ 
they  saw  botli  Laura  and  Roger  standing  a  few  steps  from  eacli 
other,  evidently  a  prey  to  great  emotion,  but  silent. 

'  You  have  asketl  to  see  us,  M.  de  Moray  ? '  s.iid  the  admir..l. 
*  Mme.  de  la  Marche  and  myself  are  at  y«)nr  (trders.' 

The  appearance  of  the  new-comers  had  caused  the  excitement  of 
Laura  an<l  K(»ger  to  fall  suddenly.  But,  although  M.  de  Moray 
usually  had  a  great  mastery  over  hiuiself,  he  wiis  in  need  of  a  few 
seconds  to  recover  the  balance  of  his  mind.  What  a  cliange  it  wan 
thus  to  re-enter  the  immediate  reality  of  hia  life!  How  rapidly  he 
had  been  recalled  from  the  heaven  where  his  meeting  with  the 
w«>man  he  still  loved  paasionately  had  made  him  a.scend!  He  was  so 
troubled  that  he  had  forgotten  why  he  ha«l  come  to  see  the  admiral  ; 
but  his  memory  soon  returned,  and  he  shuddered. 

*  Yes,  yes,  1  wanted  to  see  you,  he  muttered.  '  I — it  is  a 
thing  which ' 

His  lips  opened  and  closed  in  uttering  in:a-lic\date  sounds. 

'Pardon  me,'  he  said,  succeeding  in  restraining  himself.  *  The 
unexpected  presence  of  a  woman  I  never  tiiought  of  seeing  again 
has  thrown  me  into  a  great  state  of  trouble.  I  beliuve  I  h;vve  been 
mad.     Once  more,  I  pray  you,  f  >rgive  me  and  hear  me.'  '■ 

'  We  are  listening,'  said  the  admiral,  motioning  to  everyone  to  sit 
down. 

M.  de  Moray  turned  towards  Laura. 

*  The  communication  1  have  to  make,'  he  said,  '  was  to  be  ad- 
dressed only  to  the  admiral  and  his  wife  ;  but  after  the  interview 
we  have  had.  Madam,  I  have  not  the  right  to  exclude  yor.,' 

Laura  bowed  her  head  softly  as  a  sign  of  compliance,  and  Roger 
continued,  preuarin4  himself  to  climb  a  painful  calvary. 

'  'I'he  terrible  I'veiits  which  h.ivo  dividtnl  our  two  families,'  he 
said,  after  a  moment's  silence,  *  have  not  been  able  to  alter  either 
my  sentimentH  of  respect  for  you,  Adnuial,  or  my  feelings  of  ven- 
eration for  you,  Mme.  de  la  Marche.  This  being  the  case,  even  had 
I  n.)t  wished  to  invoke  your  assistance  in  a  pri»ject  I  have  formetl, 
1  should  have  felt  it  as  a  duty  to  acquaint  you  to-day  with  a  deter- 
mination I  have  come  to.' 

'  A  project  1 '  asked  Mme  de  la  Marche. 

'  A  determination  ? '  said  the  admiral. 

*  Yes,  I  have  resolved  to  marry  my  daughter.' 

■  JNIarry  Paulette!'  cried  Laura,  with  fear,  interfering  for  the  first 
time. 


A   MARTY U.  193 

'  Our  fuinily  diBBonsions,'  continued  M.  de  Moray,  '  imiwBi'd  upon 
niu  till:  <hity  to  put  tin  end  hb  quickly  iM  p<»8Hib!i)  t«>  the  very  unibur- 
ruHBing  situation  in  which  my  duuglitor  wusplucod  in  nty  own  houHc. 
13ut  having  decided  ou  marrying  her  promptly,  I  had  not  choRi>n 
the  liUBhand  she  was  to  have,  until  a  fatal  event  haa  forced  on  uw 
the  choice  of  that  husbaud,  and  I  will  tell  you  his  name.     It  is 

'  It  is  ? '  asked  Laura  with  an;,'ui8h. 

'  It  is  M.  Annibal  Palmeri,'  answered  Roger  with  an  ellort,  and 
speaking  in  a  low  voice,  as  if  ashamed  to  hear  himself  makin;^'  this 
revelation. 

'  Annibal  Palmeri  I '  repeated  everyone  with  the  same  cry  of  re- 
volt. 

*  The  brother  of  the  woman  who  has  usurped  my  place!'  cried 
Laura,  with  intense  indignation.  '  Why,  you  are  mail  I  Even  if  I 
]i.:d  deserved  a  chastisement  a  hundred  times  more  severe  than  tlie 
one  you  have  inflicted  ;  even  if  I  was  the  lowest  specimen  of  the 
lost,  I'aulette  is  nevertheless  my  daughter,  and  (»n  account  of  that 
title  alone,  she  cannot  love  the  brother  of  the  woman  who  boan  the 
old  nauie  of  her  mother! ' 

*  Who  speaks  of  lf>ve  i '  ivsked  M.  de  Moray,  sadly.  '  Moreover,' 
ho  continued,  with  bitterness,  *  are  you  ([uite  sure,  madam,  that  a 
marriage  of  love  alvs-ays  realizes  the  happiness  it  promises  / ' 

A  leaden  silence  weighed  on  these  four  persoiiH.  separated  by 
manifold  interests,  but  who,  certainly,  met  on  the  same  thou<,'ht  : 
the  happiness  of  Paulette.  For  a  moment  they  remained  motion- 
less, silent.  Laura  was  the  first  to  tind  enough  strengtii  to  speak. 
Mothers  are  Ciipable  of  all  the  energies  when  the  happiness  of  their 
child  is  in  jeopardy. 

'  Let  us  see  ! '  she  said,  passing  her  hand  across  her  foreheail,  as 
if  <■.■>  drive  away  a  horrible  dream.  '  There  is  in  all  tljia  stmiething 
which  you  do  not  say,  and  which  alone  can  dictate  the  monstrous 
words  we  have  just  heard.  Listen  !  do  not  interrupt  me  yet.  A 
few  minutes  ago,  I  might  have  suspected  in  you  some  evil  thought 
which  would  have  led  you  to  destroy  my  child's  happiness,  after 
having  contributed,  I  would  have  sworn,  to  the  destruction  of  mine. 
But  now,  without  wishing  to  recall  anything  of  what  has  happened 
when  we  were  alone  together  ;  now,  1  cannot  accuse  you  of  suoli  ;• 
weakness,  of  such  a  crime,  I  may  say.  Theie  is  something  you  (lit 
not  tell,  a  necessity  which  pushes  you  in  spite  of  yourself.  Well, 
it  is  that  something  you  must  tell,  that  mystery  you  must  reveal. 
You  must  underrttaud  that  you  cannot  tell  rao  that  you  are  sacri- 
ticiug  my  daughter,  without  also  telling  me  what  merciless  law  yuu 
are  obeying.     Come,  speak  out,  I  am  listening  ! ' 

One  would  have  said  that  the  roles  wore  changed  now.  Aft'i- 
having  so  rudely  exercised  his  power,  M.  de  Moray  was  forced  to 
lower  his  head.     His  victim  was  his  judge,  in  her  turn. 


194  A  MArnrn. 

'  YrH,'  iuMmiI  thu  tMliiiirul,  '  wu  must  know.' 

'  1  have  cuiiio  to  tull  you  all,'  said  thu  count,  sadly.  '  PerliapH 
when  you  aro  hotter  informed,  you  will  judge  niu  less  haruhiy. 
Know,  then,  that  after  the  evil  which  struck  mo  in  my  love,  another 
atihction  befel  mo.  After  the  honor  of  the  husband,  the  lionor  of 
the  man  has  been  threatened,  compromised.' 

*  Oreat  heaven  ! ' 

'  In  two  words,  the  facts  are  these,  and,  as  you  have  said,  here  is 
the  law  imposed  upon  my  will.  Certain  circumstances  which  it 
woidd  be  too  long  to  tell,  and  which  it  is  useless  to  mention,  have 
compromised  my  name  and  my  honor  in  such  a  torriblo  manner, 
that  even  to-day  1  am  threatened  with  a  criminal  prosecution  before 
the  tribunals,  where  1  will  be  condemned.  But  1  hope  you  will  not 
Buapect  my  good  faith  ;  I  can  be  accused  only  of  a  guilty  impru- 
dence. Bo  that  as  it  may,  when  the  peril  was  revealed  to  me,  I  felt 
lost,  ccmdemned  in  advance.  I  had  before  me  the  expectation  of 
the  felon's  cell,  or  the  bullet  of  the  honest  man  prosecuted  for  a 
fault  involuntarily  committed.' 

*  You  wanted  to  kill  yourself  I '  cried  Laura. 

'  It  wis  the  only  thing  1  could  do,'  coolly  said  the  count.  '  And, 
believe  me,  M.  do  la  Marcho  would  not  have  blamed  me.  I  was 
almost  touchini';  the  fatal  minute  when  I  was  to  strike  the  blow, 
when  a  man  came  to  mo  and  <ifiered  me  a  chance  of  salvation.' 

*  And  that  man  was  V 

*  The  man  1  named  just  now,  M.  Annibal  Palmori.  Ho  offered 
to  savo  mo  from  disaster.  Hut  he  made  a  bargain,  and  the  price  of 
this  bargain  was  thu  hand  of  Paulette.     I  accepted.' 

'  I  should  have  died  ! '  cried  Laura,  with  the  inspired  accent  of 
voluntary  sacrihce.  '  Yes,  rather  than  sacrifice  my  child,  I  shoiild 
have  struck  myself  with  my  own  hand  !  * 

*  Do  you  think  I  was  nt>t  tempted  to  do  so? '  asked  the  count, 
painfully.  *  And  I  believe  that  God  would  have  shown  Himself 
more  merciful  in  His  judgment  of  the  crime  I  should  have  com- 
mitted in  taking  the  life  Ho  had  given  mo.  But  had  I  the  right  to 
prefer  death  ?     I  did  not  judge  S(j,* 

'  And  you  are  right,'  said  the  admiral.  *  The  death  to  which  you 
Would  have  condemned  yourself  would  have  only  weakly  glossed 
your  shame  ;  it  could  not  have  obliterated  it.  You  had  to  accept 
everything,  to  consent  to  everything,  to  redeem  your  honor,  no 
matter  how  cruel  were  the  conditions  imposed.  Once  mi)re,  I  say 
it,  you  have  done  your  duty.' 

'  Even  at  the  cost  of  his  daughter's  happiness  ? '  cried  Laura,  des- 
perately. 

*  Even  at  that  cost !  *  confirmed  the  admiral,  without  hesitation. 

*  No,  it  shall  not  be  !  *  cried  the  loving  mother,  who  saw  only  the 


A    M\UTYR.  lOr) 

uvil,  piThapH  thu  cluatli  of  her  chiM.  '  Y<mi  hnvu  proiiiisod,  it  it 
true,  but  you  could  only  uugagu  youraulf,  and ' 

*And  I'aulette  will  rodoem  the  word  of  her  father!'  said  the 
poor  girl,  pale  and  shuddoring,  pushing  open  a  door  boliind  which 
flhu  had  buen  a  silent  spuctator  of  this  drHinaiic  interview,  and  en* 
tering  the  room.  '  i  am  ready  to  marry  M.  I'ahnori,  father ! '  re- 
peated Paulette,  because  it  was  she  who  had  just  entered. 

The  di;y  previous  M.  de  Moray  had  told  his  daui'\ter  that  she 
could  visit  her  grand-parents  as  often  as  she  wisheu.  Taking  ad- 
vantage of  this  permission,  the  young  girl  had  returned  to  tho  ad- 
miral's on  the  next  day.  She  had  met  her  grand- father  on  the  thrt'sh- 
hold  of  the  door,  and  had  learnt  at  the  same  time  the  presence  of 
her  father  in  tho  house.  She  had  been  told  that  he  was  having  a 
private  interview  with  her  mother,  and  liistly,  she  tiad  seen  her 
grand-parents  going,  with  deep  emotion,  t<>  join  thu  two  beings  to 
whom  she  owed  her  life,  and  between  whom  she  shared  her  love 
C({ually.  When  she  found  herself  alone  an  invincible  presentiment 
told  her  tlwt  she  was  the  cause  of  this  strange  meeting,  and  nho 
wanted  to  Ifnow ;  and  had  she  been  told  that  death  was  awaiting  her 
behind  that  door,  she  would  have  gone  there  to  listen.  It  was  death, 
in  fact,  but  a  uoath  more  slow,  more  cruel,  than  would  have  been 
the  stroke  of  a  dagger  through  her  heart.  So  she  had  listened, 
standing  up  at  first,  then  m  the  terrible  ^ruth  was  being  gradually 
revealed  to  her  through  the  thin  boards,  her  strength  becoming  ex- 
hausted, she  had  fallen  on  her  knees.  It  was  in  this  attitude  of 
prayer  she  had  heard  her  sentence.  It  was  a  condemnation  which 
tore  away  from  her  heart  the  word  given  to  M.  de  Valliores,  the 
absent  friend  so  dearly  loved,  to  impose  respect  to  the  promise 
made  by  M.  de  Moray.  She  did  not  hesitate,  even  for  a  second,  hav- 
ing drawn  from  the  blood  of  her  mother  the  courage  of  sacrifice.  In  one 
moment  she  immolated  her  happiness  to  satisfy  the  honor  of  her 
father.  And  when  she  had  heard  her  mother,  who  had  also  sacri- 
ficed herself,  she  knew  it,  rebelling  in  her  maternal  instinct,  she 
had  risen,  she  had  made  the  sign  of  the  crons,  like  the  soldier  on 
the  eve  of  engaging  in  battle,  or  the  missionary  preparing  himself 
to  die  at  the  stake,  and  she  had  opened  the  dojr.  It  was  then 
that  she  uttered  these  simple  words  of  devoted noss  and  heroism  : 

*  Paulette  will  redeem  the  word  of  her  father  ! '  Only  having  added: 

•  1  am  ready  to  marry  M.  Palmeri ! '  she  felt  an  involuntary  weak- 
ness and  would  have  fallen  if  her  mother  had  not  caught  her  in 
her  arms. 

*  Paulette  !  Paulette,  my  child  ! '  cried  Laura.  *  Forget  these 
words.  Think  of  it,  my  beloved.  It  is  your  life,  it  is  your  happi- 
ness you  are  giving.' 


1!)G  A    MARTYR. 

'  It  in  hin  liiiior  I  am  rodootning,'  ri'tortod  tlio  Kcnoronii  chiltl,  in 
a  HUproiiiu  ( tloit.  Then  turning  to  Miiiu.  du  Moray  ,  *  You  wuru 
ri};ht  in  not  doubting  your  child,  fathur.  What  you  havo  donu  is 
well  donu.' 

After  those  words  she  leaned  her  head  on  Laura's  shoulder,  and 
told  her  in  a  voice  so  low  that  nobody  else  could  hear  her  ; 

'  It  Huuius  to  nu>,  do  you  sue,  that  somuthini^  is  broken  in  my 
htart.  1  do  not  know  what  I  feel  ;  I  do  not  sutler,  and  still  I 
am  not  conscious.  Oh  !  mother,  one  must  feel  so  on  the  point  of 
doath.' 

llur  limbs  trembled  and  sank  under  her.  Her  blood  rushed  to 
her  heart  and  to  her  brain  ;  as  pale  as  a  corpse,  she  uttered  a  dull 
moan  ;  her  eyes  closed. 

'  Farewell,  mother,'  she  muttered,   '  Fare ' 

Kho  could  not  liniHh  the  word.  She  fell,  slipping,  from  iho 
uniis  of  Laura,  who  could  only  lessen  the  force  of  h>u-  t)n«^\pectid 
fall.  All  this  scene  had  been  enacted  in  a  few  scctiuds.  Ijiiuni 
uttered  a  heartrending  shriek. 

'  Ah,'  she  cried,  '  Dead  !  she  is  dead  I ' 

Then  throwing  herself  down  beside  the  chihi,  she  raisetl  her, 
and  took  her  in  her  arins.  Mud  with  sorrow,  she  rockt'd  the  h'l'j, 
girl  to  and  fro  in  her  ai  ms,  ha  h\w.  used  to  do  long  ago  when  she 
took  the  little  child  out  of  her  <;n»dlo.  M.  de  Moray  and  the  a<l- 
miial,  frightetted  by  the  iie8|>air  of  the  nu>ther,  almost  as  much 
as  by  the  fainting  of  the  daughter,  tinally  succeeded  in  taking  hor 
from  L:iura's  arms  and  placed  lur  on  a  sofa,  where  Mme.  de  la 
Marche  bathed  her  temi-les  with  water. 

'  Ah,'  suddenly  ciied  Latira,  who  saw  signs  of  life  (m  her  child's 
lips,  '  she  has  iiu>ved,  she  has  moved,  I  tell  you.  She  lives,  she 
lives    great  (Jod  I ' 

And  passing  from  extreme  terror  to  extreme  joy,  the  unhappy 
woman  burst  into  sobs,  bathing  the  face  of  her  daughter  with  her 
tears. 

'  Ah,  sir,'  said  the  admiral  to  Roger,  *  if  you  have  been  cruelly 
oilended,  >ou  are  now  cruelly  revenged.' 

M.  de  Moray  lowered  his  head,  and  wept  bitterly  in  his  turn. 
They  had  the  charity  to  leave  the  two  women  alone.  Laura  sat 
<lown  by  her  child,  whose  hands  she  held  in  her  own.  She  w.as 
silent,  thinking  that  she  would  soon  go  to  sleep.  But  Paulette 
pressed  her  mother's  hand  to  call  her  attention,  and  spoke  to  her 
in  a  low  voice  : 

'  Mother,'  she  said,  '  I  havo  reflected  a  great  der.l  within  the  last 
few  minutes.  Do  you  see,  it  is  our  common  fate  to  sutfer,  al- 
though neither  you  nor  I  have  anything  to  reproach  ourselves  with. 
We  love  each  other  so  much,  dearest,  that  sorrow  could  not  create 
any  jeaU>usy  between  us.     You  and  I  are  sisters  now,  sisters  in 


A    MAUTYU.  11)7 

tears  and  sorrows.  Since  it  is  so,  and  in  order  that  we  may  fnl- 
till  our  doRtitiieH  without  tlitichi*)^,  wo  noml  ^roat  oourni'o,  and 
the  tirHt  thing  wo  must  do  is  to  resign  ourselves  not  to  sue  oacli 
other  again.' 

*  Not  Buu  each  other  again  ! '  cried  Laura.  '  Ts  that  the  means 
you  have  found  to  keep  up  your  courage  I ' 

*  Yes,'  answered  Paulette,  with  grave  tirmness.  *  I  romember  niy 
childhood  ;  if  [  fell  and  hurt  uiyHulf,  I  would  get  up  with  courage, 
litid  start  to  run  again,  certain  that  you  had  not  seen  mo.  But 
if,  pale  with  fright,  you  would  raise  me  up,  and  ask  if  1  was 
wounded,  tears  woidd  come  to  my  eyes,  because  I  folt  at  the  same 
time  both  your  pain  and  mii'o.  Well,  it  would  bo  the  same  thing 
for  the  terrible  fall  which  awaits  me  :  the  fall  of  all  my  dreams,  of 
all  my  hopes  !  1  must  become  ii^sensible  to  everything,  ami  it  is 
only  in  thinking  of  myself  that  I  can  attain  that  end.' 

Laura  had  loaned  her  face  on  the  nofn,  smothering  the  murmurs 
of  her  maternal  rev(»lt.     She  rose  to  answer  : 

'  V'ou  will  do  what  your  strength  will  allow,'  she  said.  '  Yoti  will 
go,  on  the  road  to  your  calvary,  as  far  lis  your  feet  will  be  able  to 
carry  you,  and  ivs  long  as  your  shoulders  will  be  able  to  bear  your 
cr«»sfl.  [  shall  walk  by  your  side  in  thought  only,  since  you  are 
afraid  that  my  real  presence  would  be  a  cause  of  weakness.  Hut  if, 
after  all,  you  felt  that  you  are  going  to  fall  before  reacliing  the  end 
will  you  refuse  me  the  right  to  attempt  a  la^t  eftort  to  save  you  I  * 

'  What  couUl  you  do/'  asked  the  child  with  a  gesture  of  des- 
pair. '  However,  be  <]uiet  1  If  I  feel  that  the  task  is  beyond  my 
strength,  I  will  write  to  you.' 

'  You  promise  ? ' 

'  I  promise  !  ' 

The  hour  of  their  separation  had  come. 

'  Farewell,  mother  I  '  said  Pauletto. 

*  Farewell  ! '  repeated  Laura,  chisping  the  hand  of  her  child,  and 
pressing  it  on  her  heart. 

I'aulette,  accompanied  by  her  father,  returned  to  the  old  man- 
sion, and  soon  after  the  usual  guests  of  the  house  sat  down  to  dinner 
Paulette  was  by  the  side  of  Annibal  Palmori,  and,  except  that  she 
was  a  little  paler  than  usual,  nothing  in  her  demeanor  recalled  the 
murderous  emotions  of  the  day.  After  dinner  Paulette  approached 
Annibal. 

'  I  shall  be  grateful  to  you,'  she  said,  *  if  you  will  lead  me  into 
the  garden.      I  havo  a  few  words  to  speak  to  you  in  private.' 

Palmeri  bowed  without  answering,  and  gave  her  his  arm.  We 
must  say,  to  the  honor  of  the  Neapolitan  that  his  heart  was  beat- 
ing faster  at  that  moment  than  he  thought  it  was  capable  of.  The 
yirginal  charms  of  Paulette  had  made  a  deep  impresHion  on  that 
bandit  born  at  the  foot  of  Vesuvius.    £yen  so,  that  ho  was  trembling 


198  A    MAHTVFl. 

like  a  young  inau  who  goua  to  his  Hrst  rendezvous.  They  were 
hardly  seated  when  Paulette  said  to  Annibsvl  that  her  father  had 
told  her  of  the  obligations  he  owed  to  the  brother  of  his  second 
wife,  and  of  the  engagements  he  had  taken  in  exchange.  These 
engagements,  whoso  execution  depended  upon  herself  alone,  she 
was  ready  to  keep.  She  would  become  M.  Palmeri's  wife  to  release 
her  father  froni  his  debts.  J3ut  it  was  her  dut)'  to  tell  hini,  that  she 
could  dispose  only  of  her  person,  her  heart  having  been  already 
given  to  another. 

•  I  hope.  Miss,'  said  the  Italian,  with  a  smile  full  of  conceit,  '  I 
hope  to  be  able  to  make  you  forget  the  whim  of  a  young  girl.  At 
your  age,  the  imagination  is  easily  carried  away.' 

'  At  my  ago,'  Paulette  answered  coolly,  '  a  young  girl  such  as  I 
am  does  not  take  back  the  heart  she  has  once  given.  Be  that  as  it 
may,  sir,  do  you  still  insist  upon  your  demand,  after  what  I  have 
told  you  ? ' 

'  More  than  ever.  Miss. ' 

*  Then  1  shall  be  your  wife,  and  redeem  u>y  father's  promise  ! ' 
She  bowed  and  walked  away. 


Vll. 

Two  or  three  days  after  the  events  we  have  just  narrated,  the 
servant  of  Sir  Elias  Drack  at  the  hotel  of  the  Louvre,  told  him  that 
the  prince  wished  to  see  him. 

'  Still  the  Indian,'  grunted  the  good  man,  visibly  anxious,  and 
trying  to  disguise  his  anxiety  with  an  air  of  bad  humor.  '  The 
prince  is  commencing  to  annoy  me.  But  it  aitfckes  no  ditFerence. 
Show  his  excellency  in.  Ah,  here  you  are,'  said  Mr,  Drack  to  the 
faithful  Indian  when  they  were  left  alone.  '  I  was  in  hopes  of 
being  able  to  take  the  train  for  Calais  this  evening  without  hearing 
from  you  or  your  masters.     They  are  well,  those  people,  eh  ? ' 

'  Not,  not  well  !  But  is  it  true  that  you  are  going  away  !  '  asked 
Mai  tar,  in  his  turn. 

*  If  it  is  true  !     This  evening,  by  express  !    I  leave  for  England.' 

*  You  return  to  your  family  ! ' 

'  Eh  !  I  have  very  little  family.' 

*  Among  your  friends  i ' 

'  I  think  that  I  have  less  of  them  than  of  a  family.  * 
'  To  your  country  then  ?  * 

*  My  country  !  my  country  !  You  mean  the  country  where  I  was 
born,  and  where  1  have  lived  until  I  was  seven  or  eight  months  old. 
Later,  my  parents  sent  me  around  the  world.' 


A    MAUIYU.  199 

'  Well,  if  it  is  so,'  continuod  MalUir,  '  why  aro  you  thinking  of 
loaving  I'aris,  where  I  know  somebody  who  wants  you.' 

'  That's  another  reason  why  I  should  go,'  growled  the  Englisli- 
nian.     *■  Wants  me  !  and  who  is  it  that  wants  me  I ' 

'  The  young  mistress.* 

'  Paulette  !  What  can  I  do  for  her,  even  if  I  consent  to  incon- 
venience myself  1     She  has  hor  father  ! ' 

'  Unhappily,  yes,'  answered  Maltar,  in  a  low  voice. 

'  She  has  her  mother.' 

'  Unhappily,  no  ! '  added  Maltar,  a  little  louder. 

*  What  are  you  saying  no  for  ]  Has  n<»t  Mme.  Laura,  thanks  to 
me,  been  reinstated  into  the  good  graces  of  the  old  seal  ? ' 

'  The  old  seal  ? '  asked  Maltar,  opening  his  eyes. 

'  The  old  admiral,  if  you  prefer  the  term,  and  will  not  Paulette, 
who  is  allowed  to  visit  her  grand-parents,  see  her  mother  as  much 
as  she  wants  1 ' 

'  Oh  ! '  said  the  devoted  servant,  *  there  has  been  a  great  change 
within  forty-eight  hours.' 

*  A  change  ? '  asked  Mr.  Drack,  stopping  in  his  preparations  for 
his  departure.     *  And  what  is  that  change  ? ' 

'  I  went  to  jee  the  Countess  de  Moray  last  night.' 

*  Which  countess  ]  Because  one  loses  himself  among  all  these 
people.' 

'  There  is  only  one  Countess  de  Moray  for  me,'  answered  the 
Indian,  his  eyes  flashing  with  anger.  '  I  mean  Mme.  Laura.  My 
old  mistress  has  told  me,  crying  bitterly,  that  her  daughter  could 
not  come  and  see  her  any  more,  on  account  of  her  going  to  be 
married. ' 

With  this  Palmeri  you  have  spoken  about.  The  project  is  not 
abandoned. 

'  Alas  !  no.' 

*  And  Mme.  Laura  consents  to  it  ? ' 

*  What  can  she  do  to  prevent  it  ?  Nobody  can  do  anything. 
She,  no  more  than  the  others  ! ' 

'  Nobody,  nobody  ! '  repeated  Mr.  Drack,  *  It  is  not  yet  written 
that  nobody  can  do  anything.  Perhaps  there  would  be  one  way  of 
which  I  have  already  thought.' 

'  One  way  ? '  asked  Maltar.  *  One  way  to  prevent  this  marriage 
which  will  kill  Miss  Paulette.  Yes,  Mr.  Drack,  it  will  kill  my 
young  mistress,  I  am  sure.' 

'  Kill  her  !  '  said  the  Englishman  with  agitation.  *  Tell  me,  do  you 
think  Miss  Paulette  would  consent  to  receive  me,  if  I  went  and  pro- 
posed one  way  to  put  this  Annibal  out  of  the  way  i  ' 

*  Oh  !  yes,  sir,'  answered  Maltar,  who  knew  very  well  that  all  the 
bad  humor  of  good  Mr.  Drack  would  end  in  a  proposition  of  that 


200  A   MAHTYH. 

kind.  *  And  I  am  stire  the  young  mistress  would  be  very  hap])y  to 
see  you.' 

'  Well,  return  to  the  mansion,  and  tell  her  of  my  visit.  Ah  !  one 
word  yet.  Do  you  think  I  could  enter  the  house  without  nieetin<4 
her  father.  You  know,  your  jnastor  irritates  me.  He  is  the  cause 
of  all  this  annoyance.  I  could  not  help  telling  him  that  he  has 
neither  heart  nor  soul,  which  would  make  me  angry  and  it  might 
injure  my  health.' 

'  1  shall  expect  you.  Mr.  Drack,'  said  the  Indian  retiring,  'and 
you  will  enter  without  anybody  seeing  you.' 

An  hour  later  the  good  Englishman  was  introduced  into  Pau- 
lette's  room.  The  young  girl  greeted  him  with  a  tender  caress,  as 
if  feeling  that  he  was  her  best  friend. 

'  How  good  of  you  !  '  said  Paulette,  with  tears  in  her  eyes.  '  How 
I  thank  you  ! ' 

*  Oh  !  you  are  welcome,'  answered  Mr.  Drack.  '  As  I  had  nothing 
to  do  this  morning,  I  came  this  way,  by  chance.  Then  what  Mal- 
tar  has  told  me  is  true,  they  are  marrying  you  ? ' 

Paulette  looked  at  him  and  answered  firmly  : 

*  Mai  tar  makes  a  mistake.  They  do  not  marry  me  ;  I  consent  to 
the  marriage  myself.' 

*  Hum  ! '  said  the  old  consul,  *  the  result  is  about  the  same.  But 
then,  if  you  get  married  what  will  become  of  poor  M.  de  Valli^res  ? ' 

'  Gaston  ! '  cried  the  child. 

'  Yes,  Gaston  !  that  young  man  so  good,  so  charming,  from  what 
you  have  told  me,  at  least,  because  I  don't  know  him  myself.' 

*  Gaston  ! '  repeated  Paulette.     *  Ah  !  if  I  only  dared  ! ' 
'  What  'i ' 

'  Nothing  !    A  foolish  idea  ! ' 

'  Say  it,  anyhow.' 

'  Well,  if  some  day  soon,  you  should  return  to  India ! ' 

*  Never  in  my  life,  thank  you.  Return  to  India  !  there  is  no 
danger.     If  it  did  happen,  however,  what  do  you  want  mo  to  do  ? ' 

'  You  will  go  and  see  M  de  Valliores  and  tell  him  all  you  have 
heard  since  you  came  to  l^aris,  all  you  have  witnessed  until  the 
moment  of  your  departure.  You  will  tell  him  that  she  who  was 
wedded  was  not  a  happy  and  smiling  bride,  but  a  victim  to  an  im- 
perious, to  a  sacred  duty,  and  you  will  so  make  him  understand  my 
story  that  he  shall  not  think  of  accusing  me,  who  will  never  cease 
to  love  him,  imtil  my  last !  ' 

'  Your  last  what  t '  asked  the  Englishman  .with  the  same  phlegm, 
when  she  stopped  for  the  second  time. 

*  Until  the  time  when  this  necessary  marriage  has  made  me  the 
wife  of  another  ! '  said  the  child  with  heroic  courage. 

'  Poor  unhappy  child  ! '  the  g(»od  man  could  not  help  saying,  at 
the  itame  time  grumbling  at  himself  for  being  so  weak  and  seusi- 


A   MAUTVK.  201 

tive.  'Certainly,  if  what  you  say  shoiiUl  happen,  I  would  proba- 
bly have  business  which  would  call  uio  to  India,  and  I  would  have 
tiino  to  deliver  your  message  to  M.  Gaston  de  Vallii'rea.  Hut  aH  [ 
was  telling  Maltar  this  morning,  there  is  a  very  simple  means  to  pro- 
vent  this  cimfounded  marriage,  and  you  have  only  to  say  the  word. 
1  have  never  told  you  that  I  have  accjuired  many  physical  accom- 
plishments ;  I  am  as  clever  as  a  monkey.' 

*  1  am  aware  that  you  swim  well  ! '  said  the  young  girl,  with  a 
look  of  aft'ection  and  gratitude. 

*  Eh  I  1  swim,  1  swim,'  he  answered  modestly,  '  say  that  I  swini 
a  little.  But  there  are  lots  of  things  I  can  do  infinitely  better.  I 
am  as  good  a  swordsman  as  a  fencing-master^  and  with  a  pistol  I 
hit  thp  mark  at  thirty  feet  every  time.  I  have  never  had  the 
chanco  co  utilize  those  little  talents,  and  I  believe  I  have  a  good 
occasion  to-day  to  pass  from  theory  to  practice.  This  M.  Palmeri 
of  yours,  whom  1  never  saw,  annoys  me  ;  disturbs  me  ;  ho  upsets 
all  my  combinations.  Come,  would  it  cause  you  great  sorrow  if  I 
tried  my  skill  upon  him  ? ' 

'  No,  no,  said  Paulette  (£uickly,  *  I  have  nothing  against  M. 
Palmeri,  whose  conduct  towards  my  father  has  been  gonercjus,  and 
he  has  my  word.     I  must,  do  you  hear,  I  must  become  his  wife  I ' 

'  An  you  will,'  said  Mr.  Drack,  who  appeared  disappointed.  '  I 
shall  make  experiments  cm  someone  else.  But  I  would  have  pre- 
ferred   .     After  all,  my  child,  it  is  your  business.     And  when 

is  the  wedding  to  take  place  i ' 

*  As  soon  as  possible,'  answered  Paulette.  *  Since  this  marriage 
is  necessary,  I  am  in  a  hurry  to  see  it  celebrated.  I  have  asked  my 
father  to  shorten  the  delays.     It  will  be  in  fifteen  days  perhaps.' 

'Good  ! '  thought  the  honest  Englishman.  '  In  fifteen  days  one 
can  do  many  things,  and  we  have  time  to  turn  around.' 

While  Paulette  was  extending  her  hand  to  her  old  fiiend,  to  say 
farewell,  the  door  opened  and  the  maid  appeared,  asking  if  M. 
Palmeri  could  be  received. 

'Certainly,'  said  Mr.  Drack,  without  waiting  Paulette 's  answer. 
*  Introduce  him.' 

Then  turning  to  Paulette. 

'I  beg  your  pardon  if  I  answered  for  you,  my  dear  child,'  he 
said,  *  but  it  affords  me  great  pleasure  indeed  to  see  this  excellent 
M.  Annibal,  your  future  husband.' 

The  presence  of  Sir  Elius  Drack  on  that  day  spared  Paulette  a 
painful  annoyance  which  she  had  to  suffer  since  the  previous  day, 
'and  which  would  come  every  day  until  the  wedding.  This  annoy- 
ance, or  rather  this  downright  torture  was  the  necessity  the  young 
girl  had  to  submit  to,  of  receiving  the  visit  of  her  attianced  lover. 
This  visit  was  very  painful  to  Paulette,  for  the  man  who  sat  by  her 
and  tried  to  conc^uer,  if  not  her  love,  at  least  her  indilFerence,  this 
M 


202  A   MAKTYU. 

man  appeared,  in  her  eyes,  to  bo  an  executioner.     And  was  he  not 
one,  in  reality  /  For  our  readers  have  understood  that  Paulette  had 
resolved  to  die.     M.  do  Moray  had    pronounced  her  sentence  of 
death  in  taking  in  her  name  the  enj^agement  to  make  her  the  wife 
of  the  brother  of  Claiidia.   He  had  doubly  pronounced  that  sentence 
when  lie  had  disposed,  without  her  consent,  of  a  heart  she  had  given, 
and  wiiich  she  would  never  take  back.     And  the  man  who  was  to 
execute  the  sentence,  the  man  who  was  to  be  thereafter,  we  repeat 
the  word,  the  executioner  of  Paulette,  this  man  was  the  very  ono 
designated  to  lead  her  to  the  altar.     It  was  Annibal  Palmeri.     M<jre 
than  once,  she  had  made  a  comparison  between  herself,  the  inno- 
cent, and  the  wretch  awaiting  with  anguish,  in  his  cell,  the  terrible 
morning  of  the  "last  toilet.     This  last  toilet  !    for  her,  the  bride 
whom  everyone  would  envy,  it  would  be  made  of  flowers  and  silk  ! 
It  would  be  the  virginal  dress  with  which  every  young  girl  adorns 
herself  ono  day  in  her  life,  to  go  and  meet  the  expected  husband. 
But,  no  matter  how  beautiful,  it  would  bo  her  last  toilet,  the  one 
which  precedes  death.     And  there  was  one  thing  which  rendered 
the  approach  of  the  torture  still  more  acute  to   l*aulette  than  to 
ordinary  criminals  :  it  was  the  obligati<m  she  was  under,  in  order  to 
hide  her  project,  to  make  her  own  preparations,  and  to  weave,  so  to 
speak,  the  wedding  veil  which  was  to  be  her  shroud.     There  are 
voluntary  deaths  to  which  those  who  are  resigned  rush  witli  ner- 
vous enthusiasm.     It  seems  then  that  life  has  been  so  hard  to  those 
who  resolve  to  quit  it  that  it  is  a  burden  they  are  in  a  hurry  to  be 
rid  of.  But  it  was  far  from  being  so  in  the  case  of  Paulette.   Hardly 
one  month  before  her  existence  was  full  of  beautiful  promises.  The 
joys  of  her  childhood  held  out  still  greater  happiness  for  the  future. 
One  month,  nay,  fifteen  days  ago  she  was  landing  from  the  steamer 
at  Marseilles,  knowing  nothing  of  the  drama  which  had  filled  the 
old  family  mansion  with  blood  ;  of  the  divorce  which  had  separated 
her  parents,  of  the  financial   disaster  which  was  threatening  the 
honor  of  her  father,  and  lastly  of  the  engagement  which  boxind  her 
to  a  man  she  abhorred.     In  such  a  short  time,  what  a  revolution  in 
and  around  her.     The  visits  of  Palmeri  awakened  all  these  sad  ideas 
in  her  heart,  and  it  is  no  wonder  that  they  were  a  downright  tor- 
ture.    On  that  day  the  presence  of  Sir  Elias  Drack  made  the  visit 
less  painful.     She  presented  the  two  gentlemen  to  each  other,  and 
shortly  after  she  retired,  leaving  them  together.     Annibal,  who  was 
annoyed  by  the  incident,  tried  nevertheless  to  be  amiable. 

'  I  believe  it  was  you,'  he  said,  '  who  (escorted  Miss  de  Moray  on 
her  voyage  ? ' 

*  My  own  self  !  '  answered  Mr.  Drack,  whoso  eyes,  piercing  like 
daggers,  wore  searching  to  the  very  bottom  of  his  interlocutor's 
brains,  trying  to  discover  his  secrets.  '  And  it  is  you  who  are 
going  to  marry  my  young  companion  ? ' 


A   MARTYR.  203 

'  Yen,  sir,  I  have  this  great  happiness  !  * 

'  It  is  a  ^reat  happiness,  as  you  say,  and  I  congratulate  you  sin- 
cerely, liut  this  marriage  was  decided  on  very  <}uickly,  it  seems  to 
me  ? ' 

'  It  has  been  sufficient  to  me  to  see  Miss  Paulette,  to  become 
B\iddenly  smitten  with  her  beauty,  her  charms,  and  her  grace.  Does 
not  that  seem  natural  to  you  ? ' 

'  Quite  natural.  And  I  dt>ubt  not  that  at  your  first  interview, 
my  young  friend  has  experienced  the  same  feeling  as  yourself. 
Reciprocated  and  instantane(.ii8  love  !  A  thunderbolt,  double  pres- 
sure, as  we  say  in  France,  I  believe.' 

Annibal  who  was  an  ass  at  times,  but  who  still  was  nothing  of  an 
imbecile,  felt  the  irony  of  the  remark,  and  experienced  a  feeling  of 
anger.  At  the  very  moment  he  wjis  giving  way  to  his  passion,  the 
adventurer  felt  that  he  would  make  himself  ridiculous,  and  he  pro- 
tended not  to  have  understood.  This  was  the  more  easy  to  liim  as 
M.  Drack  had  a  good-natured  air,  and  appeared  convinced  of  what 
he  said. 

'•The  thunderbolt,  sir,  as  you  say, 'he  replied. 

*  So  that.'  rejoined  the  ex-consul,  '  the  daughter — of  the  wife 
— of  the  husband — of  Madam,  your  sister — it  is  that,  is  it  not  ? 
is  made  perfectly  happy  by  this  sudden  union  ? ' 

Mr.  Drack  had  wound  the  chaplet  of  relations  we  have  just  writ- 
ten with  a  very  comical  accent,  as  if  seeking  his  words,  lint  the 
Neapolitan  had  made  up  his  mind  not  to  be  offended  or  astonished 
at  anything. 

*  Happy! '  he  replied.  '  Certainly  Miss  Paulette  is  very  happy, 
and  I  doubt  not  she  will  be  still  more  so  after  her  marriage,  when 
she  will  have  appreciated  the  sincerity  of  my  sentiments.  But  I 
see  with  the  greatest  satisfaction,  sir,'  he  added,  setting  his  teoth 
in  an  involuntary  movementy  of  humor,  *  that  you  feel  a  great  deal 
of  interest  in  Miss  de  Moray.' 

*  A  great  deal,  dear  sir,  indeed!  1  even  offered  her  my  services 
a  minute  ago  for  a  favor  to  which,  by  the  way,  you  were  not  indif- 
ferent.' 

*  A  favor!     And  what  was  it  ?    Tell  me,  I  pray.' 

*  Oh,  nonsense!  Since  Miss  I'aulette  has  refused  to  take  advan- 
tage of  certain  talents  which  1  put  at  her  entire  disposal,  it  is  quite 
U'eless ' 

'  Ah !  she  has  refused  ? ' 

'  Yes,  unluckily.  I  regret  it  for  her  sake,  and  for  mine  also,  to 
tell  you  the  truth  ;  because  it  would  have  been  a  great  tisfaction 
to  me  if  I ' 

Mr.  Drack  did  not  go  any  further  in  his  confidence,  as  the  reader 
will  easily  understand,  when  ho  will  remember  the  nature  of  his  little 


204  A   MARTYR. 

talents  and  the  favor  he  alluded  to.     Annibal,  although  filled  with 
mistruHt,  felt  obliged  to  answer  a  few  polite  words. 

*  Whatever  may  be  the  favor  you  speak  of,  sir,  I  am  very  grateful 
for  the  intention.* 

*  You  are  quite  welcome,  I  assure  you,  my  dear  Mr.  Palmer!. 
Ah!  do  me  a  favor  in  your  turn,' 

'  If  it  is  in  my  power.' 

*  Oh!  the  simplest  thing  in  the  world  for  you,  but  which  is  giving 
nio  a  great  deal  of  bother.  I  have  just  called  you  my  dear  Mr. 
Prtltueri,  and  every  time  I  pronounce  your  name,  it  seems  to  me  [ 
have  heard  it  before.     Please  tell  me  where  1  have  met  you.' 

Annibal,  as  it  happened  every  time  someone  enquired  about  his 
personality,  felt  a  cold  shiver,  to  use  a  familiar  expression.  Never- 
theless, it  could  not  be  noticed. 

'  It  is  not  very  surprising,'  he  said,  '  that  xuy  name  should  be 
known  to  you.  M.  Palmeri,  my  uncle,  who  was  in  tlie  banking 
business,  made  a  great  fortune,  which  we  inherited,  my  sister  and 
I.     It  is  undoubtedly  my  uncle  whom  you  have  heard  spoken  of.' 

*  It  is  probable,'  answered  the  Englishman,  apparently  aatist^ed. 
*  And  you  say  you  have  inherited  ;  recently,  is  it  not  V 

'  About  a  year  ago.' 

*  A  year,  in  truth!  it  is  very  recent  yet.  And  you  are  Italian,  are 
you  not  1 ' 

*  Yes,  by  origin,  but  I  was  born  in  India.* 
'  Ah  !  in  India,  I  begin  to  understand.' 
•What]' 

'  It  must  have  been  in  India  I  heard  your  family  spoken  of.  Ah! 
my  dear  Mr.  Palmeri,  there  is  another  thing  I  have  forgotten  to  tell 
you,  and  which  I  hope  will  not  annoy  you.  I  have  consented  to 
be  one  of  the  witnesses  of  your  bride.' 

'  She  could  not  make  a  choice  more  agreeable  to  me,'  politely 
said  Annibal,  who  had  a  good  mind  to  send  his  bride's  friend  to 
the  devil. 

'  I  am  very  happy  that  it  is  so  agreeable  to  you,'  rejoined  Mr. 
Drack,  giving  Annibal  one  of  those  shakes  of  the  hand  of  which  one  is 
never  sure  whether  its  aim  is  not  to  pull  off  one's  arm.  '  Inasmuch 
as  my  quality  of  witness  will  afford  me  an  opportunity,  I  hope,  of 
getting  better  acquainted  with  your  charming  family.  I  have  not 
had  occasion  to  be  presented  to  Madam  your  sister  yet.* 

'  She  will  be  at  home  to-morrow  night,'  politely  answered  Anni- 
bal.    *  She  receives  every  Friday.     You  wiH  be  welcome.' 

'  One  cannot  be  more  courteous.  I  will  have  the  honor  to  come 
and  pay  her  my  respects,  with  your  kind  permission.  Good-bye, 
dear  Mr.  Palmeri,  until  to-morrow.  Ah  !  a  last  word.  When  you 
see  your  amiable  betrothed,  please  tell  her  on  my  part  that  if  sh(^ 
changes  her  mind  about  that  little  favor,  she  will  always  find  me 
ready.' 


A   MARTYR.  205 

*  D^;>end  on  ine,'  said  Aunihal,  '  1  shall  not  fail.' 
'  Thank  you.     Good-bye.' 

Haying  these  wttrds,  Mr.  Drack  went  uway. 

'  The  confounded  prattler,'  thought  Annibal,  I  fancied  he  would 
never  go  away. '  Then,  reflecting:  'What  might  be  the  nature  of 
the  little  favor  he  is  always  npeaking  of  i  I  should  not  be  sorry  to 
know  what  he  is  alluding  to.' 

Our  intention  is  not  to  dwell  at  length  upon  the  events  of  the 
fifteen  days  which  were  to  elapse  before  the  marriage  of  Mile,  de 
Moray.  We  are  too  anxious  to  arrive  at  the  grave  changes  which 
are  preparing.  Moreover,  the  situation  was  such,  between  the  dif- 
ferent actors  of  our  dranin.  that  it  could  not  V>e  materially  altered. 
Mr.  Drack  was  the  only  oi  to  modify  his  niaiinerof  life.  He  made 
himself  altogether  at  hoT  ,  afl'ecting  the  keenest  sympathy  for  his 
hosts,  and  becoming  a  great  friend  of  the  new  countess  and  her 
brother,  at  least  as  much'  as  of  Paulette.  This  transformation 
grieved  Paulette  greatly  at  lirst,  because  she  had  thought  she  had 
lost  her  only  protector.  But  she  had  been  reassured  very  quickly 
by  Maltar,  who  went  to  her  one  day,  and  told  her  that  the  con- 
duct of  Mr.  Drack  was  only  a  deceit. 

'  Mr.  Drack  has  charged  me  to  tell  young  mistress,'  rapidly  said 
the  Indian  in  a  low  voice,  '  not  to  believe  that  he  is  forgetting  her.' 

'  So  you  have  seen  him  ? '  asked  Paulette  surprised. 

'  Yea  ;  Maltar  goes  almo>^t  every  morning,  secretly,  to  the  hotel, 
where  they  let  the  prince  come  in. ' 

*  What  prince?' 

'  No  matter,  don't  mind  ! '  answered  the  good  servant  with  a 
silent  laugh.  '  And  when  he  arrives,  Maltar  always  sees  Mr.  Drack 
working  with^a  fencing- master.  One,  two.  One,  two.  Ho  is  a 
good  swordsman,  Mr.  Drack.' 

*  Poor  old  friend,'  thought  Paulette  with  a  grateful  heart.  *  He 
has  always  the  same  foolish  idea.' 

Then  addressing  herself  again  to  her  humble  and  faithful  ser- 
vant, she  lowered  her  voice  still  more  and  said  : 

*  And  my  mother,  Maltar  ?  Did  you  see  her  yesterday  ?  How 
is  she  I ' 

'  Well,'  answered  the  Indian  ;  it  is  always  the  same  thing  at  the 
admiral's.  Everybody  weeps.  But  they  are  all  glad  of  being  to- 
gether again.  Mine.  Laura  hopes  that  when  the  young  mistress 
will  be  married,  she  will  see  her  again.  Until  then  she  entreats  her 
to  keep  up  her  courage.' 

'  Yes,  yes,'  said  Paulette  quickly.  '  Tell  my  mother  that  I  have 
courage,  a  great  deal  of  courage.  Tell  her  that  my  evils  will  soon 
end  —  and  that  —  when  I  will  be  —  ' 

Her  voice  fell  in  a  moment  of  weakness,  but  was  soon  firm  again 
as  she  continued  : 


206  A  martvk. 

'  Toll  hor  that  whoii  I  will  be  —  married,  I  will  be  by  her  side 
alwiiyB.     I  will  wiit'-h  (»vor  hur.     I  will  console  hor.  — C*o,  ii<iw,  g<».' 

When  she  was  alone,  the  poor  child  burst  into  sobs. 

*  Yes,  beh)ved  mother,'  she  thouyht, crying,  '  I  will  bo  near  you. 
I  will  console  you.  My  soul,  delivered  from  its  chains,  will  fly  to 
you.  My  breath  will  heal  the  wounda  of  your  heart.  And,  know- 
iiiy  then  the  mysteries  of  your  life,  I  will  share  the  weight  of  the 
Bullorings  of  the  saintly  and  heroic  martyr.' 

While  his  daughter  was  preparijii^  for  her  funeral  wedding,  M. 
do  Moray  was  beginning;  to  undergo  the  just  punishment  of  the  at- 
traction which  hail  dra<iged  him  in  his  new  life,  as  if  he  )i:id 
been  suddenly  attacked  with  madness.  His  interview  with  Laura 
at  the  admiral's  had  dissipated  a  portion  of  the  clouds  which 
darkened  his  heart.  He  looked  at  himself  now  with  a  sort  of  in- 
stinctive horror.  Moreover,  the  emotions  which  he  owed  to  his 
financial  disasters  and  to  the  imperious  necessity  of  marrying  Pau- 
lette  against  her  wish  had  weakened  his  will  and  his  courage.  He 
was  living  after  a  mechanical  fashion,  and  was  avoiding  thought  as 
much  as  possible.  He  was  seeking  the  numerous  gatherings  ;  noise, 
movement,  and,  in  a  word,  everything  which  could  divert  his 
thoughts  from  him.  Only  one  thing  had  survived  in  the  ruin  of  this 
high  personality  :  the  sentiment  of  honor. 

Gorgon  was  enjoying  her  triumph.  The  marriage  of  Paulette  was 
the  crowning  of  her  success.  There  was  nothing  left  of  the  scruples, 
the  disdains,  and  the  jealousies  of  which  she  had.  been  the  object. 
Her  will  had  passed  through  everything  like  the  scythe  which  cuts, 
and  the  harrow  which  levels.  Her  harvest  was  made,  and  she  was 
getting  the  ground  ready  for  the  seeding  of  new  successes.  Annibal, 
also  was  frankly  happy.  The  heart  of  such  a  man  did  not  want,  to 
be  satisfied,  the  love  of  the  woman  he  was  going  to  marry.  He  was 
asking  from  Paulette  only  the  gift  of  her  beauty,  and  that  he  felt 
sure  to  have. 

Let  us  return  once  more  to  Paulette  and  her  mother.  The  reader 
will  remember  that  the  noble  young  girl,  after  her  unexpected  pre- 
sence at  the  interview  at  the  admiral's,  in  which  her  fate  was  settled, 
had  implored  her  mother  to  cease  all  relations  between  them  until  the 
day  her  sacrifice  would  be  consummated.  Paulette  had  said  that 
she  must  be  free  from  all  causes  of  emotion  to  be  able  to  attain  the 
end  she  had  in  view.  It  had  been  agreed  that  they  would  neither 
meet  nor  write  to  each  other.  They  had  news  of  each  other  through 
a  few  words  hastily  exchanged  with  Maltar.  One  day  as  Laura 
was  expressing  her  surprise  at  not  receiving  the  visit  of  the  ex-con- 
sul, the  Indian  had  told  her  that  Sir  Elias  Drack  hardly  ever  left  the 
old  mansion. 

*  Ah  !  '  Laura  had  cried  with  discouragement,  *  that  one  is  also 
tired  of  being  the  companion  of  the  unhappy  !     He  courts  the  ris- 


A    MA.PTYR.  207 

iii^  Bun,  iiiul  wauta  his  Hharo  of  thu  i)luu8urtm,  huviiig  fouiul  too 
much  bitturnuBs  in  the  tuurs.' 

'  No,  mistress,'  answered  Maltar,  shukxng  liis  head.  '  1  do  not 
know  wliat  Mr.  Drack's  projects  are,  but  I  am  certain  ^hat  Ito  hatt 
not  abandoned  liis  unhappy  friends,  and  moreover,  he  is  quite 
chaii^'od,  Mr.  Drack  is  !  ho  does  not  say,  as  a  month  ago,  that  this 
confounded  house  of  de  Moray  does  not  concern  him.  He  does 
not  speak  of  his  broken  rest,  fie  does  not  threaten  to  leave  every 
morning.  Do  you  see,  mistress,  I  am  quite  sure  lie  has  an  idea, 
and  he  hopes  in  something.' 

'  What  can  he  hope  for  i '  asked  Laura,  *  think  of  it,  Maltar  !  It 
is  to-morrow,  to-morrow  !  that  the  crime  will  bo  perpetrated  !  To- 
morrow my  daughter  will  become  almost  the  sister  of  the  woman 
who  occupies  my  place  in  my  own  hoviso  !  It  is  to-morrow  that 
Paulette,  burying  her  own  love  for  M.  Gaston  de  Vallibros,  will  bo- 
come  tho  wife  of  one  Annibal  Palmeri ! ' 

'  I  don't  know,  mistress  !  I  know  nothing  ! '  repeated  Maltar. 
•  But  I  believe  Mr.  Drack  has  a  project  and  a  hope  he  iloes  nut 
speak  of.' 

We  are  now  on  tho  morning  of  the  day  fixed  for  the  marriage. 
The  ceremony  is  to  take  place  at  two  o'clock.  It  is  nine  o'clock. 
Then  only  live  hour  separate  Paulette  from  the  moment  when 
everything  will  end  for  her.  And  when  she  counts  the  minutes  she 
says  the  day  will  have  no  morrow.  When  she  will  have  redeemed 
the  promise  of  her  father,  she  will  have  regained  her  freedom.  She 
will  die  then  !  At  times  she  touches  in  her  pocket  a  thin  little 
dagger  she  has  brought  with  her  fron  India.  The  wound  of  the 
weapon  is  mortal.  The  i)oint  of  it  has  been  charged  with  a  subtle 
poison,  known  to  the  negroes  only.  A  single  touch  of  tho  dagger, 
and  in  a  few  minutes  the  work  of  destruction  will  deliver  her  from 
the  work  of  profan.ation.  This  is  how  she  came  into  possession  (  f 
this  dangerous  arm  :  after  her  long  illness,  during  her  convalescence, 
M.  de  Valli^res  had  told  her  one  day,  while  showing  her  the 
dagger ; 

*  if  you  had  died,  Paulette,  this  would  have  delivered  me  from 
this  life,  and  I  should  have  rejoined  you  where  our  souls,  at  least, 
could  be  united  for  eternity  ! ' 

Paulette,  frightened,  had  taken  away  tho  weapon  from  his  hands. 
She  had  kept  it  religiously  ever  since,  and  to-day  she  was  saying  to 
herself  :  '  It  is  with  this  dagger  he  would  have  killed  himself  if  he 
had  been  obliged  to  renounce  mo  ;  it  is  by  this  dagger  I  will  die, 
sooner  than  belong  to  another.*  All  these  things  whirl  in  her  head, 
and  she  is  hardly  conscious  of  the  fleeting  hours.  Nevertheless, 
she  hears  the  clock  strike  ten,  and  she  remembers  that  on  the  pre- 
vious day  she  has  said  to  Mr.  Drack:  'Come  to-morrow  at  ten 


208  A    MARTYR. 

o'clock.  I  liavH  Homothin^  to  entrust  to  yfnir  caro. '  It  in  ovoii  in 
uiiticipation  of  tluH  visit,  and  to  preiuru  what  shu  wiui  to  remit  to  hor 
faithful  friend  that  ahe  was  up  writing  the  greater  part  of  the  night. 

*  Q\iarter  past  ten  already  ! '  she  says  to  herself  with  nervous  im- 
putiencu.  '  Has  he  forgotten  his  promise  ;  still  I  nuiat  speak  to 
him  ! ' 

At  the  same  niouient,  the  old  consul  arrived,  much  agitated. 
Ho  excused  himself. 

'  Pardon  nio,  my  dear  child,  if  I  am  a  little  late ;  but  I  was  ex- 
pecting some  important  despatches.* 

*  DcHpatches  ! '  answered  Paulette,  inattentively.  '  What  dps- 
patchus  / ' 

'  Oh  !  nothing  that  concerns  you,'  hastily  rectified  Sir  Elias 
Drack.  '  Moreover,  when  you  will  have  informed  mo  what  yoii 
called  me  for,  I  will  return  to  the  hotel  to  remain  until  the  hour  of 
your  sacrifice.     Tell  mo  at  once  what  you  want.* 

*  1  wish  you  to  do  mo  a  favor,'  said  Paulette,  '  and  I  hope  you 
will  not  refuse  me.' 

To  claim  a  favor  with  so  much  insistance  on  the  morning  of  the 
day  of  her  marriage,  Paulette  must  have  attached  a  particidar  im- 
portance to  it.  Sir  Elias  Drack  understood  that,  and  ho  did  not 
hesitate  to  answer. 

*  I  am  entirely  at  your  orders,'  he  said,  eagerly.  *  Did  you  think, 
at  the  last  minute,  to  have  recourse  to  the  little  talents  1  have 
spoken  of  ? ' 

*  It  is  not  that,'  answered  Paulette,  with  an  icy  smile.  *I  do 
not  desire  the  death  of  anybody.  It  is  simply  this  :  You  know  that 
my  mother  will  not  be  present  at  tho  ceremony  of  the  marriage. 
She  knows  that  I  want  all  my  courage,  and  she  understands  that 
her  presetice  would  provoke  in  me  emotions  which  would  annihilate 
my  strength.  So  it  has  been  decided  between  my  mother  and  my- 
self that  we  would  not  see  each  other  to-day.' 

*  Weil,  you  will  allow  me  to  tell  you  that  this  combination  of 
yoTirs  is  not  very  clever.  It  is  heart-rending  for  your  mother,  and 
tiireatoning  to  you.  Yes,  I  say  threateningly  and  i  maintain  the 
word,     I  should  not  wonder  if  it  was  a  cause  of  misfortune.' 

*  Perhaps  so,'  said  Paulette,  with  the  same  enigmatical  smile, 
\\hich  did  not  escape  the  atteJition  of  her  old  friend,  'it  maybe 
possible  that  it  will  be  a  cause  of  misfortune,  even  very  soon.  But 
it  must  be  so.  Well,  if  I  must  not  see  my  mother,  I  should  like 
very  much  that  a  letter  should  be  handed  to  her  this  very  day,  one 
hour,  minute  for  minute,  after  the  time  we  have  left  the  mayor's 
office.  Here  is  the  letter.  Will  you  be  kind  enough  to  deliver  it 
under  the  conditions  I  have  told  you  ?' 

*  Very  willingly,'  said  Mr.  Drack,  with  a  good-natured  air,  '  It 
is  understood,  I  shall  do  your  errand  at  once,  before  returning  to 
the  hotel.     I  hare  all  the  time  necessary.     Give  it  to  me.' 


A   MAKTYU.  200 

The  young  yirl  wh'»  wiw  on  tho  \)n'\ui  «»f  giving  lior  lutter  to  tho 
En(;liHhiiiuii,  withdrew  liur  hand  Buddeiily. 

'  No,  no,'  bIio  said,  quickly.  •  It  in  tliin  eveiiiiif,',  thntuj^lithe  day. 
I  mean,  one  hour  after  my  hushaiid  and  1  shall  have  returned.  It 
is  oidy  one  hour  after  that  the  letter  mint  he  han<lod  to  my  mother. 
Can  I  dopond  on  your  punctuality  /' 

'  Perfectly,'  retorted  the  good  Mr.  DrHck,  with  tho  same  aflfec- 
tionate  franknesa.  '  Yuu  know  very  well  that  I  do  only  what  you 
wish.' 

*  You  j<ive  me  your  word  ? ' 
'  1  give  it  to  you.* 

'  You  Bwear  on  your  honor  aa  a  gentleman,  a\id  on  your  faith  as 
a  Christian,  to  liand  tliis  letter  to  my  mother  only  one  hour  after 
the  accomplishment  of  my  marriage  ;  but  you  swear  also  not  to  de- 
liver it  later  ?  * 

'  Mtist  r  swear  by  Styx  V  laughinirly  asked  tho  consul. 

'  Do  not  laugh,'  said  Paulette,  with  gravity.  'Otherwise,  seeing 
that  I  could  not  confide  in  you,  I  would  think  of  Houjohody  else.' 

Sayiiij^  these  words,  tho  noblo  child  turned  towards  Maltar,  who 
had  just  entered  the  room  to  attend  to  his  duties,  and  who,  taking 
advantfige  of  tho  great  freedom  he  was  enjr)ying  in  exchange  for  his 
immense  devotiop,  was  listening  to  their  conversation.  That  one, 
at  least,  she  was  sure,  would  not  argue  ;  he  woiild  execute  her  orders 
faithfully. 

*  No,  no,'  cried  Mr.  Drack,  with  a  sober  air,  '  I  am  not  laughing. 
Don't  you  see  that  I  am  not  thinking  of  laughing.  On  my  faith  as 
a  Christian,  on  my  honor  as  a  gentleman,  I  swear  that  this  letter 
shall  bo  placed  in  the  hands  of  your  mother  one  hour  only  after 
your  marriage.' 

'  Very  well,  my  friend.  I  thank  you,  and  I  have  conlidonce  in 
you.' 

The  young  girl  gave  her  little  hand  to  the  Englishman,  who 
squeezed  it  affectionately  between  his  own. 

'  Now,'  she  added,  making  an  effort  to  smile,  '  I  am  going  to  sur- 
vey the  last  preparations  of  my  toilet,  because  I  must  be  a  beatiti- 
ful  bride.' 

She  did  not  wait  for  an  answer,  because  she  was  afraid  to  yield 
to  her  sorrow  in  the  presence  of  the  only  two  friends  she  had.  The 
poor  child  was  hardly  out  of  the  room  when  Sir  Elias  Drack  turned 
towards  the  Indian  : 

*  Maltar,'  he  said,  *  do  not  lose  a  minute  !  Take  this  letter  to 
Paulette's  mother  at  once,  this  very  ruomeiit  !  ' 

'  But  you  have  promised  the  young  mistress  to  remit  it  only  one 
hour  after  the  ceremo ' 

'  Why  don't  you  start ! '  retorted  Mr.  Drack,  with  anger,  not 
allowing  him  to  end  the  word.     *  Go,  as  I  would  go  myself  if  1  wj« 


210  A   MARTYR. 

not  obliged  to  ruturii  to  tho  hotel  for  thusu  c«>nfoun(led  denpatuhcH, 
which  may  iirrivo  ut  uiiy  iniiiut«>.  Don't  yo\i  uiulerHtaiul  that  it 
would  hti  tho  faruwtdl  of  a  uorpsu  I  would  tako  to  Mine.  Laura  if  1 
waited  until  the  uiiddlu  of  the  day  to  Beiul  this  nu^ssngt'.  You  don't 
winh  then  that  Mnio.  Laura  Hhould  bo  warned  in  tiniu  to  prevent 
her  duuuhtor  killing;  herself?' 

In  Bjito  of  his  violent  words,  Maltnr  was  not  <|uito  i^'cided. 

'  Sir,'  hu  Hnid,  hoBitatiuK,  'you  have  taken  an  oath,  a  solemn 
oath.     Can  one  break  an  oath  i ' 

•  Certainly  not !  '  cried  Mr.  Drack,  with  coniical  energy.  '  But 
all  oaths  are  e(|ually  nacred  ;  and  l*>u^'  before  I  took  this  one  for 
the  poor  young  girl,  there  was  one  I  solemnly  made  to  myself :  I 
have  sworn  always  to  act  according'  to  my  conHcience.  And  my 
conscience  tells  nu)  that  tudther  my  conscience  nor  my  faith  will  be 
compromised  becauHe  I  will  have  saved  this  dear  child  who  wants 
to  kill  herHelf.  Moreover,  this  is  an  affair  between  heaven  and  my- 
self, and  it  does  n(»t  concern  you,  you  wretched  idolator  !' 

Maltar  did  not  insist  any  more,  but  ho  revenged  iiimoelf  in  his 
own  way  for  this  outrage  to  his  faith. 

*  Very  well,'  ho  said,  '  I  tly  to  Mme.  Laura's,  and  I  will  tell  her  : 
Madanj,  this  is  sent  by  the  English  gentleman  who  never  bothers 
about  anything  that  does  not  concern  him,  who  hates  emotion,  and 
who  thinks  only  of  himself.' 

'Yes,'  grumbled  Sir  Klias  Drack,  '  lauyh  at  me,  old  buffer, 
that's  your  right.  Uidy  hurry  up,  because  the  minutes  are  counted, 
do  you  see.  And  if  you  should  arrive  too  late  on  account  of  your 
confounded  prattle,  I  think  I  should  strangle  you  with  thcao 
fingers.' 

'  And  the  niaster  would  be  right,'  hund)ly  said  the  Indian,  leaning 
towards  the  threatening  hand  of  Mr.  Drack  to  kiss  it.  '  Tho  master 
loves  Mme.  Laura  and  Mile.  Pauletto  almost  as  much  as  I  lt)ve 
them  myself,  and  I  would  die  for  him,  at  once,  if  he  desired  it.' 

On  these  worda  they  separated. 

We  will  let  them  pursue  their  work  of  devotion,  and  we  will  re- 
main in  the  mansion,  whore  the  preparations  for  tho  ceremony  are 
being  actively  pushed.  Tho  servants  have  put  on  their  most  gor<.'e- 
ous  livery.  In  tho  yard  the  coachmen  throw  a  last  look  at  tho 
carriages  ;  in  the  kitchtn  the  cooks  are  already  preparing  the  ban- 
quet to  which  will  be  invited  only  the  moat  intimate  friendd  of  tho 
family.  There  is  only  one  poor  wretch  in  this  magnificent  mansion  : 
the  one  to  whom  it  belongs,  whoso  name  it  bears,  tho  one  who 
seems  to  command  as  master,  the  Count  do  Moray.  He  must  be 
very  poor,  indeed  !  this  one,  most  horribly  ruined,  not  to  be  able, 
by  sacrificing  all  ho  possesses  to  redeem  the  life  of  his  daughter  !  On 
this  eventful  morning  this  thought  preyed  on  his  mind  still  more 
than  usual.     At  the  moment  the  sacrifice  was  to  be  consummated 


A    MAUTYIi.  211 

without  hopes  of  over  turiiitig  hack,  ho  wan  porcoiviiiK  with  ^reuttir 
lucidity  than  oii  thu  pruvious  ilays  tho  iiuuiensu  roRpoiisibility  hu 
wafl  iticnrritiK  for  the  wlioh)  future.  NuverthuleBs,  worldly  honor 
obliged  him  to  let  these  things  bu  done.  If  ho  were  to  die,  if  Pau- 
lotto  herself  wero  to  bo  condemned  to  inconsolable  sorrow,  the  mar- 
riage must  take  place,  since  there  was  no  means  to  avoid  criminal 
proceedings  but  to  take  refuge  in  suicide,  or  to  accent  salvation  at 
the  sacritice  of  his  daughter.  It  was  eleven  o'cloclc  when  M.  do 
Moray  was  thinking  thus.  At  tho  same  time,  with  a  brazen  (>trr«)nt- 
nry,  the  new  Countess  do  Moray,  accompanied  by  her  brother,  sent 
a  servant  to  Paulette  to  ask  her  if  she  would  receive  them.  Sho 
wanted  to  be  the  first  to  kiss  tho  dear  child  on  the  day  of  her  mar- 
riage !  Paulette,  the  courageous  girl,  had  made  answer  that  she 
would  rejoin  the  countess  in  the  drawing-room  as  soon  as  she  was 
ready.  Annibal  and  his  sittter,  full  of  joy  at  their  triumph,  had 
been  waiting  for  a  few  minutes,  when  tho  door  was  opened  with  a 
crash. 

'  I  will  enter  !     I  tell  you  !     I  will  enter  ! '  cried  an  an^ry  voice. 

The  Italian  turned  around  suddenly,  and  recognized  Laura.  The 
two  Countesses  do  Moray  were  facinj^  ea<;h  other.  It  was  a  iatal 
law  which  made  these  two  women  meet,  so  that  one  would  crush 
tho  other.  All  that  remains  to  bo  known  are  the  conditions  and 
the  issue  of  tiiia  duel  in  which  is  resumed  all  the  morality  of  this 
story  ;  all  that  remains  to  be  known  is,  who  will  be  definitely  and 
logically  winner,  either  yirtue  disarmed  or  vice  defended  and  pro- 
tected by  all  tho  seductions  of  beauty,  youth,  and  fortune. 

On  seeing  the  tirst  wife  of  hor  husband,  the  second  Mme.  do 
Moray  had  the  presentiment  that  something  definite  would  bo  done. 
She  accordingly  accepted  the  battle  without  hesitation,  like  a  vali- 
ant wrestler.  But  this  time,  as  the  reader  will  see,  she  had  to  c(m- 
tend  against  a  powerful  enemy.  Her  adversary  was  not,  as  a  few 
numths  before,  a  daughter  who  sacrificed  herself  for  the  honor  of 
her  mother,  a  wife  who  resigned  herself  to  the  abandonment  of  her 
husband.  It  was  a  mother  who  wanted  to  save  the  life  of  her  child , 
and  who  would  fight  with  tooth  and  nail,  until  sho  would  be  out  of 
the  hands  of  her  executioners. 

'  I  will  enter  ! '  had  cried  Laura,  dashing  by  sheer  strength  into 
the  drawing-room. 

'  You  !  you  in  my  house  ! '  answered  another  shriek,  uttered  by 
the  Italian. 

'  I  do  not  know  where  I  am  or  in  whose  house  I  am  ! '  said  Laura, 
with  force.  *  I  know  only  one  thing  !  it  is  that  my  daughter  is 
going  to  die,  and  I  have  come  to  prevent  her  killing  herself.' 

'  Die  ! '  repeated  Palmeri  and  his  sister,  with  the  same  accent. 

*  Yes,  die  !  rather  than  be  tho  wife  of  the  one  she  had  accepted.* 


212  A   MARTYR. 

*  Ynxi  are  mad  !  '  retorted  the  beautiful  Claudia,  with  disdain. 
*  So,  your  insults  do  not  reach  us.  Only  is  it  not  customary  to 
keep  mad  people  in  a  house,  you  will  go  out,  do  you  hear  ! ' 

'  I  will  not  go  out  !  at  least  not  without  seeing  my  daughter  and 
taking  her  away  with  me.  Come  !  make  room  !  madam  !  I  must 
see  my  daughter  ' ' 

The  adventuress  had  placed  herself  near  the  door  of  Paulette's 
room,  and  to  get  to  that  door,  Laura  made  a  gesture  to  push  her 
aside.  Annibal  rushed  to  the  help  of  his  sister,  and  placed  himself 
by  her  side.     But  Claudia  refused  his  aid. 

'There  is  only  one  person,'  she  said  proudly,  *  whose  help  I  am 
willing  to  accept  against  this  woman  ;  and  that  is  my  husband.  Call 
M.  de  Moray,  Annibal.     He  will  judge  between  us.' 

Palmeri  hesitated  before  he  obeyed,  not  knowing  what  would  hap- 
pen during  the  few  minutes  he  would  be  away.  But  Laura  re- 
assured him. 

'  Yes,'  she  said,  '  your  sister  is  right,  sir.  Call  M.  de  Moray.  Go 
without  fear.     I  will  await  his  decision.' 

Annibal  bowed  and  went  away.  During  the  few  minutes  they 
remained  alone,  the  two  rivals  were  silent. 

At  last  the  count,  sent  by  Palmeri,  entered  the  room. 

'  Come,  come  quickly,  sir,'  said  the  Italian,  again  becoming  in- 
Bolent,  with  the  certainty  of  victory  bnnight  by  the  arrival  of  her 
husband.  *  Put  a  stop,  I  pray,  to  the  insults  and  threats  of 
Madam ! ' 

On  hearing  from  Annibal  of  the  unexpected  presence  of  Laura  in 
his  daughter's  apartment,  M.  de  Moray  felt  troubled  to  the  bottom 
of  his  soul.  But  the  legal  exigencies  of  the  situation  imposed  upon 
him  the  duty  of  taking  the  part  of  her  who  had  become  his  wife 
against  her  who  had  been  repudiated.  Firmly  resolved  to  fulfil 
this  duty,  he  approached  Laura  and  said  coolly  : 

'  Have  you  calculated,  Madam,  before  crossing  the  threshold  of 
this  house,  the  consequences  of  such  a  proceeding  ]  ' 

Laura  answered  as  coolly. 

*  1  have  not  come,'  she  said,  *  to  engage  in  a  discussion  with  you. 
I  only  wished  to  see  my  daughter.  Your  appearance  gives  mo  the 
occasion  to  say  some  things  I  did  not  intend  to  say.  I  shall  do  and 
say  what  I  know  is  my  diity,  which  is  a  sacred  one.  It  is  placed 
higher  than  all  your  social  conventions,  higher  than  all  your  laws. 
For  a  mother  the  care  of  the  life  of  her  child  is  the  first  of 
duties.' 

*  The  life  of  Paulette  ? '  asked  M.  de  Moray  with  anxiety. 

'  This  marriage,  if  it  is  acconiplished,  is  the  death  warrant  of 
your  child.' 

'  What  do  you  say  ? ' 

'  1  say  that  Paulette  will  kill  herself  if  you  persist  in  imposing 
this  marriage  upon  her. ' 


A   MAKTYK.  213 

*  You  are  strangely  mistaken,'  naid  the  count.  *  Remember  that 
Paillette  herself  has  accepted  the  husband  I  destined  for  her,  but 
which  I  would  not  have  imposed,  neither  this  one  nor  any  other.  If 
what  you  aftirm  is  true,  she  would  not  have  accepted  this  union,  or 
having  accepted  it  presuming  too  much  on  her  strength,  she  would 
have  renounced  it  since.' 

'  I  have  said,'  attirmed  Laura  in  despair,  *  that  this  marriage  will 
kill  Paulette.  Here  is  the  proof.  You  see  this  letter  ?  It  is  her 
eternal  farewell  which  she  has  sent  me.  It  was  to  be  given  to  me 
only  at  the  very  moineiit  she  was  to  strike  the  fatal  blow,  one  hour 
after  her  marriage.  Happily,  the  friend  to  whom  she  had  entrusted 
it  guessed  her  project,  and  betrayed  her  confidence.  If  1  had  re- 
ceived it  only  at  the  hour  appointed,  this  night  your  daughter 
would  bo  no  more.  My  mother  and  I  have  read  it.  It  is  wet  with 
our  tears  yet.  But  read  it,  sir,  read  it  in  your  turn,  and  you  will 
not  doubt,  after,  that  this  marriage  was  going  to  kill  your  daugh- 
ter.' 

M.  de  Moray  took  the  pages  which  Laura  was  handing  him,  and 
read  them  rapidly.  In  an  instant  he  learned  the  love  of  Paulette 
for  Gaston  de  Vallieres  and  her  invincible  hatred  for  the  man 
whose  sister  had  been  the  cause  of  her  mother's  unhappiness. 
Henceforth  his  mind  was  made  up, 

'  Be  reassured,  Madam,'  he  said  with  great  emotion.  '  Paulette 
shall  live.  This  marriage  will  not  take  place,  since,  thank  God,  it 
is  time  yet.' 

A  cry  of  joy  escaped  frojn  the  lips  of  Laura.  In  truth,  God  owed 
her  this  moment  of  happiness.  But  the  Italian  claimed  the  rights 
of  Annibal  Palmeri. 

'Ah!'  she  said  with  sovereign  contempt,  'my  brother  and  I 
should  have  expected  this.  The  nobleman  1  have  married  thinks 
very  little  of  his  honor! ' 

'  You  are  mistaken.  Madam,'  said  M.  de  Moray.  '  I  forget  noth- 
ing of  what  I  owe  either  to  you  or  M.  I'almeri.  Only,  instead  of 
sacrificing  my  daughter  to  pay  my  debt,  I  willacfjuitit  myself  before 
this  evening  ;  depend  upon  it,  the  honor  of  the  gentleman  will  soon 
be  redeemed.' 

'  You  want  to  die !  you ! '  cried  Laura,  stupefied.     *  Why  ]  * 

'  Did  not  you  hear  ? '  asked  Roger  with  a  painful  smile.  *  The 
honor  of  a  nobleman  is  engaged.  I  must,  within  twenty-four  hours, 
pay  a  considerable  sum  of  money.  This  money,  which  I  have  not, 
the  marriage  of  Paulette  with  M  Palmeri  put  at  my  disposal.  But 
since  this  marriage  will  not  take  place,  I  will  have  to  pay  with  my 
blood  what  I  cannot  pay  with  my  money. ' 

Laura  stopped  him  with  a  shriek. 

'  So,'  she  said,  '  you  were  going  to  sacrifice  your  daughter  for  the 
sake  of  money,  and  it  is  for  the  sake  of  money  that  you  want  to 


214  A   MARTYR. 

kill  yunrself.     In  that  case  it  will  soon  be  settled.    I  will  save  both 
of  you ! ' 

'  You?  *  cried  the  Italian. 

'  Save  us  ?  and  how  can  you  do  it  ? '  asked  the  count. 

*  When  the  tribunal  pronounced  our  divorce,'  answered  Laura 
with  animation,  '  you  remitted  to  my  notary  j^bout  eight  hundred 
tbouaand  francs,  which  formed  my  dowry  ;  take  that  money,  Roger, 
it  is  yours  ! ' 

*  if  that  is  the  only  means  you  have  to  offer,'  said  M.  de  Moray, 
*  I  cannot  accept  it  ! ' 

*  But  why  ?  why  ? '  cried  Laura  stupefied. 

'Certainly,'  ironically  said  Claudia,  'who  can  prevent  you  re- 
deeming your  honor  with  the  money  of  the  woman  who  has  di.v 
honored  you  ? ' 

'  Yes,  the  world  would  pronounce  the  same  judgment  as  my  con- 
science.    Once  more  I  repeat :  I  do  not  accept ! ' 

*  But  it  is  impossible,'  cried  Laura,  '  I  cannot  be  placed  between 
those  two  torments  :  Either  to  see  my  daughter  die,  or  to  see  my 
husband  die  ! ' 

*  Your  husband  ! '  protested  Claudia  with  a  threatening  laugh, 

'  No  !  /ours  !  '  answered  Laura,  distracted.  *  Yours  !  But  let 
him  live,  and  live  without  condemning  his  child.  Roger,  in  the 
name  of  the  past  !  in  the  name  of  our  daughter  !  do  not  repulse  the 
ofier  I  make,  and  which  you  would  accept  from  anybody  else  !  ' 

The  count  was  strangely  moved  by  this  generous  struggle  for  his 
life. 

*  Alaa  ! '  he  repeated,  '  don't  you  understand  that  you  are  exactly 
the  only  person  in  the  world  from  whom  I  cannot  accept  any  help  ? ' 

'But  this  money  is  not  even  mine  ;  just  think  !  It  is  the  result 
of  the  long  services  and  privations  of  my  father.  And  since  I  am 
an  unworthy  woman,  a  guilty  woman,  a  dishonored  woman,  it  is 
only  just  that  this  fortune  hcmorably  gained  should  pass  from  the 
glorious  hands  of  the  grand-father  to  the  pure  and  innocent  hands 
of  his  grand-daughter.  It  is  not  I,  Roger,  it  is  she  !  It  is  your 
daughter  who  offers  you  her  ransom  and  yours  !  and  since  it  is  so, 
you  will  accept  this  money,  Roger  ;  you  catmot  refuse  it !  ' 

'  It  is  your  dowry  !  I  will  not  accept  it  ! ' 

*  So  the  child,  or  the  husband  will  be  sacrificed,  because  the 
mother ' 

'  Because  the  mother  has  been  guilty  !  Yes,'  cried  M.  de  Moray 
with  force  ;  '  it  is  the  chastisement  inflicted  on  the  guilty  wife  !  ' 

This  was  too  much.     Laura  rebelled  at  last. 

'  Well,  no  ! '  she  cried  ;  '  it  will  not  be  !  I  have  suff'ered  every 
shame,  every  evil,  every  despair  !  But  before  this  one  my  heart 
rebels  !     I  will  not,  and  I  raise  my  head  ! ' 

'  What  do  you  mean  1 '  cried  the  count. 


A   MAIlTVll.  215 

At  this  moment  Mine,  do  la  Marchu  entered  the  room.  The 
reader  will  remember  what  Laura  had  said  :  I'aidette'a  letter,  sent 
by  Mr.  Urack,  had  been  read  by  her  mother  and  by  herself  at  the 
same  time.  Laura  had  fled  without  losing  a  minute,  and  now  the 
arrival  of  Mme.  de  la  Marche  brought  a  powerful  auxiliary  to  her 
daughter. 

'  Come,  mother  ! '  said  Laura,  '  Come  ! ' 

'  Well  i '  asked  Mme.  de  la  Marche,  '  our  poor  Paulette  ? ' 

*  They  deny  me  the  right  to  save  her  ! '  cried  Laura  with  distrac- 
tion. 

'  What  do  you  say  ? ' 

*  1  say  that  pride  leads  M.  de  Moray  either  to  a  criminal  suicide 
or  to  the  murder  of  his  child  !  ' 

'  Is  that  true  / '  asked  Mme.  de  la  Marche,  turnin;^  towards  the 
count. 

'Since  your  daughter  appeals  to  you,  madam,'  answered  M.  de 
Moray,  '  you  whimi  I  respect  and  deeply  honor.  1  will  also  accept 
you  as  judge  in  this  (juestion  of  honor  and  dignity  !  ' 

'  I  ?  '  she  answered,  hesitating. 

'  You  will  decide  between  us,'  repeated  the  count. 

'  And  you  will  accept  her  deci-iion  / '  asked  Laura. 

'  I  will  accept  it. ' 

'  And  you  swear  to  submit  to  it  ? ' 

'  I  swear. ' 

*  Very  well  !  please  let  me  alone  with  my  mother. ' 

*  Madam,'  said  the  count  to  Mme.  de  la  Marche,  '  it  is  more  than 
my  life  I  entrust  you  with,  it  is  my  honor.' 

*  It  is  in  good  hands,  Roger  ! '  she  answered.  '  Go  without  fear. 
Leave  us ! ' 

The  count  bowed  and  left  the  room,  taking  his  wife  with  him. 
The  mother  and  daughter  were  alone. 

'  Speak,  now  !  '  said  Mme.  de  la  Marche. 

'  Mother,  you  know  that  it  is  to  redeem  his  honor  that  M.  de 
Moray  wisliea  to  marry  Paulette  to  this  Palmeri  ?  ' 

'  I  know  that :  Go  on.' 

*  You  know  that  this  marriage  would  cause  the  death  of  Paulette. 
Well,  to  save  those  who  are  dearest  to  me,  I  offered  my  dowry  to 
M.  de  Moray.' 

*  What  did  he  answer  1 ' 

*  He  has  refused  this  money  ] ' 

*  He  has  d<me  well,'  said  the  noble  woman.  '  Roger  cannot  accept 
anything  from  you.' 

'  But  think  of  it.  It  is  the  condemnation  of  my  daughter  which 
you  are  pronouncing.  Paulette  will  save  her  father  at  any  price, 
and  she  will  die,  since  the  death  of  one  of  the  two  is  necessary  to 
redeem  his  honor  !  * 


21 G  A   MAHTVll. 

*  Ah  !  it  is  the  merciless  justice  of  heaven  !  It  strikes  the  guilty 
mothers  even  through  their  children  !  ' 

'  Then  you  recognize  that  if  I  was  not  guilty,  M.  de  Moray  could 
accept  the  money  which  I  have  otlbred  ]  Well,  know  it  then.  I 
have  been  unjustly  accused,  and  I  have  been  unjuatly  condemned  I  * 

'  What  do  you  say  / '  cried  Mmo.  d(5  la  Marche.  '  Ah  !  1  under- 
stand,' she  added,  *  the  falsehood  you  would  not  utter  'so  as  to 
escape  the  j^unishment  which  was  threatening  you,  you  would  utter 
now  to  redeem  Paulette.  Alas  !  however  pious  it  may  be,  it  will 
be  a  useless  falsehood  !  * 

'  But  it  is  not  a  falsehood  ! '  said  Laura  with  force.  *  I  tell  you, 
mother,  that  1  was  not  guilty  ! ' 

This  time,  there  was  in  her  voice  such  a  ring  of  truth,  that  Mme. 
de  la  Marche  was  astonished. 

'  You  were  not  guilty  ? '  she  ri'peated,  her  eyes  full  of  anxiety. 

*  No,  mother  !  no  ;  I  was  not  guilty  !  And  without  asking  any 
other  proof,  you  must  affirm  to  Roger  that  ho  can  accept  without 
shame  the  numey  belonging  to  me.* 

'  I  will  not  say  that ! '  said  Muie.  do  la  Marche,  with  discourage- 
ment. 

'  Mother  '.  ' 

*  I  will  not  say  that  !  For  if  I  do  not  obtain  from  you  the  proof 
of  this  innocence  which  you  refuse  to  give  even  to  me,  your  mother, 
the  trouble  of  my  look,  ^hb  hesitatioii  of  my  lips,  the  blush  on  my 
forehead  will  contradict  my  words  ! ' 

*  And  still  you  have  the  right  to  swear  for  me  ;  for,  before  God, 
and  on  the  salvation  of  my  soul,  I  swear,  mother,  that  I  was 
innocent  ! ' 

Laura  had  risen  and  had  pr(jnouuced  tlii;}  ])rotestatiou  in  a  sort 
of  mystic  ecstasy,  as  if  she  had  been  at  the  foot  of  the  altar. 

'  So,'  asked  Mme.  de  la  Marche,  more  and  more  divided  between 
doubt  and  faith,  '  you  swear  that  ytju  have  not  betrayed  your  duty 
as  a  wife  ? ' 

'  I  swear  it  ! ' 

'  That  you  have  not  dishonored  the  name  of  your  husband  ? ' 

'  I  swear  it  !  1  swear  that  [  have  never  loved  but  Roger,  and  that 
1  never  belonged  to  anybody  else  !  I  swear  it  ! 

'  But  you  must  not  only  swear,  you  must  also  give  proofs  ! ' 

*  Proofs  !  oh  !  no  !  no  !  Do  not  ask  that,  mother  !  ' 

'  You  must,  Laura  !  For  the  sake  of  'your  daughter  !  you  must  ! ' 

'  Well !  Since  you  order  me  to  ! ' 

'  Yes,  I  order  you  to  !  speak  !  speak,  then  !  unhappy  child  ! ' 

'  Then,  I  shall  tell  you  all  !  But,  alas  !  I  am  trembling  more  at 
the  moment  1  am  justifying  myself  than  1  was  on  the  day  I  bowed 
my  head  under  undeserved  shame  ! ' 

'  Undeserved  shame  ! '  said  Muie.  do  la  Maicbe,  still  doubting. 
'  Did  1  not  see  your  accomplice  expiiing  under  my  eyes  ? ' 


A   MARTYR.  217 

*  My  accomplice  !  he  !  ho  I '  muttered  Laura,  iuvoking  heaven  as 
witness. 

*  Did  1  not  hear  his  avowal,  which  was  in  accordance  with  yours  / 
Did  I  nr»t  see  the  unhappy  man  die  rather  than  give  up  those 
letters,  proof  of  your  crime  ( ' 

'  Those  letters  ! '  cried  the  j^enorous  woman  painfully,  vaiKjuished 
at  last  in  her  last  struijgles,  '  those  letters  contained  only  the  cruol 
secret  of  his  birth.  They  truly  belonged  to  him  whom  you  call  my 
accomplice,  but  it  was  his  mother,  not  I,  who  would  have  been  lost 
if  ho  had  consented  to  have  them  read  ! 

'  His  mother  ! '  cried  Mme.  do  la  Marche,  not  yetundorstandint,', 
but  instinctively  pained,  however. 

Laura  was  silent  as  if  unable  to  continue. 

*  Go  on  ! '  cried  Mme.  de  la  Marche.  *  Those  letters  would  have 
ruined  his  mother,  you  say  i ' 

'Yes  his  mother  !  A  saintly  and  noble  woman  !  A  belovea 
angel,  guilty  only  of  a  moment  of  weakness,  or  perhaps  the  victim 
of  an  odious  plot ! ' 

'  A  moment  of  weakness  !     A  plot  !  ' 

'  It  must  have  been  so,'  cried  Laura,  wringing  her  hands,  *  if  this 
one  has  succumbed  ! 

'  But  what  did  this  victim  and  this  plot  matter  to  you  ? '  ask  Mme. 
de  la  Marche,  panting.  '  Why  did  you  hide  the  secret  of  this  man. 
even  at  the  cost  of  your  honor  ? ' 

'  He  was  hiding  it,  even  at  the  cost  of  his  life.' 

*  But  he  ! '  cried  Mme.  de  la  Marche,  with  vii  'ence,  '  he  was  pro- 
tecting his  mother  ! ' 

*  Alas  !  I  was  also  protecting  mine,  ! '  muttered  Laura,  hiding  her 
face  in  her  hands. 

Mme.  de  la  Marche  uttered  a  shriek  of  despair.  She  rose  and 
walked  about  the  room,  striking  her  heaving  breast. 

'  For  me  !  '  muttered  at  last  the  noble  woman  in  the  midst  of 
abundant  tears.  *  You  have  sacrificed  yourself  for  me  !  You  have 
suflfered  all  these  shames  and  all  these  sorrows  for  my  sake  ! ' 

*  Oh  !  mother  !  beloved  mother  ! '  repeated  Laura. 

*  And  he — he  was  my  son  !  But  how  is  it  that,  when  he  was  dying 
for  my  sake,  my  heart  did  not  cry  out  :  It  is  your  child  ! ' 

Then  the  mother  wept  bitterly  over  the  son  lost  as  aotm  as  he  had 
been  born,  and  whose  fate  she  had  never  known,  and  whom  she  had 
seen  only  once  to  lose  him  in  a  terrible  tragedy, 

*  Mother  ! '  said  the  poor  Martyr  whose  courage  seemed  to  be 
broken,  now  that  her  long  sacrifice  had  become  useless,  'mother  ! 
pardon  me  if  I  had  not  the  strength  of  keeping  this  secret  any 
longer.  Forgive  me  your  despair  and  your  tears.  But  I  could  not 
keep  silent  any  more.  Remember  !  you  have  said  it  yourself.  It 
was  to  save  Paulette,  and  I  had  not  the   right   to  keep  silent  any 

N 


218  A   MARTYR. 

longer.  To  save  yon  1  sacrificod  myself  without  hesitation,  as  you 
have  soon,  but  t<»  bhvo  my  daughter,  I  would  Hacrifico  the  world  ! ' 

'  And  you  would  do  your  d\ity,' answered  Muu'.  do  la  Marche. 
'  You  would  do  your  duty  as  1  am  going  to  do  mine.' 

'  What  do  you  mean  /  ' 

Mme.  de  la  Marche  walked  to  the  door  which  opened  on  the 
boudoir  to  which  M.  de  Moray  and  the  Italian  had  retired.  She 
invited  Koger  to  come  into  the  drawing-room.  Claudia  and  her 
brother  Annibal  who  had  joined  her,  wanted  to  come  in  also,  but 
Mme.  do  la  Marche  stopped  them. 

'  No,'  she  said,  '  M.  do  Moray  alone.  In  a  moment  1  shall  call 
you.' 

However  anxious  Claudia  might  have  been  to  be  present  at  the 
interview,  and  whatever  right  she  had  to  know  everything  which 
happened  in  her  house,  she  did  not  dare  to  insist.  The  high  dignity 
of  character  and  the  age  of  the  admiral's  wife  commanded  her  re- 
spect. Then  Roger,  Laura  and  her  mother  were  alone.  Mme  do 
la  Marche  Aras  the  tirst  to  speak. 

'  Dear  Roger,'  she  said,  '  the  one  we  gave  you  for  a  wife,  the 
Admiral  de  la  Marche  and  myself,  was  the  image  itself  of  virtue  ; 
she  was  an  angel  of  God  !  ' 

'  And  1  have  adored  her,'  loyally  answered  M.  de  Moray,  '  as  we 
adore  God  in  his  purest  works  until  that  fatal  day  when ' 

*  Until  the  day  when  the  saint,  taking  upon  herself  the  fault  of 
another,  has  become  a  Martyr.' 

*  What  do  you  mean  ? '  cried  Roger. 

'  Mother  ! '  interupted  the  imploring  voice  of  Laura. 
Mme  de  la  IMarche  turned  to  her  daughter. 

*  To  save  your  child,  you  have  said,  you  would  sacrifice  the  world. 
I  only  sacrifice  a  culprit.     Let  me  speak.' 

'  No,  no,  not  another  word  ! '  implored  Laura,  with  clasped 
hands. 

Mme.  de  la  IMarche  did  not  even  answer. 

'  Roger,'  she  said,  '  it  is  through  a  sublime  devotion  that  the  one 
who  was  your  wife  has  borne  the  consecjuences  of  an  unjust  sus- 
picion, of  an  infamous  accusation.  The  man  you  found  with  her 
was  not  her  lover.' 

*  What  do  you  mean  ? ' 

*  The  letters  this  man  threw  in  the  fire  were  not  hers. 

*  But  then  whose  were  they  ? ' 
'  They  were  mine  ! ' 

'  Yours  ! '  said  Roger,  not  understanding  the  extent  of  the  reve- 
lation.  'What  means  ' 

'  Be  ;iilent,  mother  ! '  cried  Laura,  *  For  God's  sake,  be  silent.' 
'  The  man  you  killed,'  .continued  the  noble  woman,  humiliating 
the  honor  of  her  old  age,  *  that  man  was  not  her  lover  !  He  was  my 
son,' 


A    MAUTYll.  21!) 

'  Your  soil  ! '  cried  M.  de  Moray,  Btupolied. 

'  Do  not  listen  to  hor,  Roger,'  cried  Laura,  distracted.  '  Do  not 
believe  her  ! ' 

'On  the  life  of  Laura,'  answered  Mme.  do  laMarche,  inxpassible, 
'  1  swear  that  what  I  have  just  said  is  the  truth.  Dare  you,  then, 
Laura,  take  on  the  life  of  I'aulette,  to  give  nie  the  lie,  the  oath  I  have 
just  taken  on  your  head  to  accuse  myself.  Swear  !  swear  at  once  ! ' 

Laura  did  not  dare  to  add  perjury  to  the  false  avowals  she  had 
already  made.  She  bent  her  head  and  remained  silent.  M.  do 
Moray  awoke  at  last  from  the  torpor  into  which  his  mind  had  fallen 
for  the  last  few  minutes. 

*  Ah  !  all  that  is  true  ! '  he  cried  with  force,  '  all  that  is  very 
true  !  I  believe  it !  I  feel  it  !  I  swear  it  in  my  turn.  And  I,  wretch- 
ed insensate  that  I  was,  I  saw  nothing,  guessed  nothing,  atul  in  my 
blind  anger,  in  my  criminal  jealousy,  1  forgot  everything.' 

He  was  walking  about  the  room  as  if  mad,  and  in  a  rage  a'^'ainst 
himself.     However,  a  flash  of  reason  crossed  this  violent  storm, 

*  Happily,'  he  cried,  '  it  is  time  yet,  and  I  can  repair  at  loast  a 
part  of  the  evil  I  was  the  cause  of. ' 

He  rushed  to  the  door  of  his  daughter's  room. 

*  Paulette  ! '  he  cried,  '  Paulette  !  Come !  come  quickly  to  kiss 
your  mother.' 

Paulette  entered  the  room,  already  dressed  and  ready  for  the 
sacrifice. 

'  My  mother  ! '  cried  the  child,  who,  drowned  in  her  own  sorrow, 
had  heard  nothing  of  the  solemn  interview  which  had  just  taken 
place  in  the  drawing-room.  *  My  mother  !  you  hero!  what  has 
happened  that  I  should  see  you  once  more  1 ' 

'  Yes,'  said  M.  de  Moray,  panting.  '  Your  mother  !  that  is  to  say, 
honor,  modesty,  and  virtue  itself  !  Throw  yourself  at  her  feet  and 
ask  her  to  forgive  me.  I  dare  not  do  it  myself.  I  cannot  implore 
for  pardon  because  I  have  been  too  cruelly  unjust  towards  her.' 

And  in  saying  these  words  the  unhappy  man  hid  his  face  in  his 
hands  and  wept  bitterly.  If  he  doubted  that  the  woman  he  had  so 
mercilessly  tortured  would  forgive  him,  it  was  because  M,  do  INIoray 
did  not  yet  know  her  well. 

*  Roger  ! '  cried  Laura,  opening  her  arms  to  him,  '  forget  every- 
thing. I  remember  only  your  love  of  old,  and  as  of  old,  also,  I 
love  you, ' 

M,  de  Moray  held  her  to  his  heart  for  a  long  time,  supporting 
her  with  one  arm,  whilst  with  the  other  he  drew  Paulette  to  him, 
and  she  shared  his  kisses  with  her  mother. 

At  this  moment  the  door  of  the  boudoir  was  opened,  and  Annibal 
and  Claudia  entered.  The  Italian  had  not  heard  anything  of  what 
had  been  said  in  the  drawing-room.  The  thick  hangings  used  as 
door  curtains  had  deadened  the  noise  of  the  voices,  and  only  vague 


220  A.   MARTYR. 

BoundH  had  roaolied  hor  oarH.  Exasporated  bocause  alio  could  not 
hear  what  was  Haid  so  near  her,  and  strong  besides  in  her  rights  us 
niistress  of  the  house,  she  ha<l  not  had  the  patience  to  wait  until 
Mnie.  de  hi  Marche  should  call  her  in,  as  she  had  promised  ;  she 
luid  suddenly  rushed,  as  we  have  seen,  into  the  room  she  was  ban- 
ished from. 

*  Ah  ! '  she  cried,  with  rage,  addressing  Laura,  *  you  were  telling 
the  truth,  madam.  One  word  has  been  sufHcient  to  bring  back  to 
your  feet  the  noble  and  loyal  C»mnt  de  Moray.' 

Palmeri  thought  it  was  his  duty  to  come  to  the  help  of  his  sister. 

'  What  has  happened,  M.  de  Moray,'  ho  asked,  '  that  such  an 
outrage  slionld  he  inllicted  on  my  sister  /  And  how  is  it  that  this 
woman ' 

'This  woman,'  cried  Roger,  fiercely,  pressing  Laura  to  his  heart, 
'  tluH  woman  has  a  riyht  to  all  your  admiration  and  your  respect. 
To  yours,  sir  ;  to  yoiirs,  also,  madam,  as  well  ns  to  mine.' 

'  She  may  go  somewhere  else  to  receive  the  homage  she  deserves,' 
answered  Claudia,  brutally.  *  But  she  will  go  out  of  here  !  This 
house  is  mine,  and  I  will  have  her  thrown  out  of  it.' 

And  the  Italian  went  towards  the  chimney.  She  was  going  to 
ring  for  the  servants  when  she  found  herself  face  to  face  with  a 
personage  who  stopped  her,  by  placing  himself  before  her  and 
making  a  bow  so  very  profound  that  it  exceeded  the  boinids  of  po- 
liteness and  reached  those  of  irony.     It  was  Sir  Elias  Drack. 

'  Madam,'  said  the  Englishman,  with  the  greatest  civility,  *  if  I 
lieard  aright,  you  have  just  said  that  you  would  have  the  motluT 
of  Miss  Paulette  put  out  by  the  servants.  I  shall  be  very  grateful 
if  you  will  tell  me  by  what  right  and  under  what  title  you  act  so 
rudely  towards  such  an  honorable  person  ? ' 

'  By  what  right  and  under  what  title  I  want  to  be  the  mistress  of 
my  house  and  keep  my  husband  1 ' 

'  Your  husband  /  I  beg  your  pardon.     Whom  do  you  speak  of  / ' 

*  Whom  do  I  speak  of  ?  but  of  the  Count  de  Moray,  here  !  ' 

*  Let  us  agree,  beautiful  lady  !  M.  de  Moray  can  only  be  the  hus- 
band of  a  living  person,  I  suppose,  and  if  you  have  forgotten  it,  I 
have  the  regret  to  remind  you  that  you  are  dead  ! ' 

At  this  word  they  all  looked  at  him.  Was  Sir  Elias  Drack  be- 
coming insane?  However,  Annibal  had  started;  he  had  drawn 
little  by  little  nearer  the  door,  and  was  trying  to  slip  off  without 
making  any  noise.     Sir  Elias  Drack  stopped  him  with  a  word. 

'  I  beg  your  pardon,  dear  M.  Palmeri,  do  not  run  so  quickly.  He 
who  has  two  feet  in  his  grave  needs  to  walk  very  carefully.' 

*  Two  feet  in  his  grave  !'  mechanically  repeated  Annibal,  stupe- 
fied and  mad  with  fright. 

*  Undoubtedly  !  Born  on  the  9th  June,  1861,  you  fell  sick  on 
the  22nd  July,  1856.     The  next  day,  23rd,  your  life  was  despaired 


A    MAUTYU.  2*2 1 

of.  On  the  inoriiiiig  of  tho  24th  yon  died  in  tlie  tiower  of  your 
age,  and  a  few  hours  after  you  were  buried  without  further  delay, 
for  fear  of  epidemic  infection.  Your  unfortunate  siater,  madam 
here  present,  attacked  by  the  same  disease,  shared,  ahis  !  your  de- 
mise and  your  funeral  ! ' 

*  You  are  mad,  sir  ! '  cried  Annibal,  who  was  livid. 

'  'i  he  proof  of  what  you  advance  I  Give  us  the  proof ! '  said 
Claudia,  with  etlrontery. 

•  The  proof  !  here  it  is  I  ' 

The  Englishman  then  pulled  out  of  his  pocket  a  bundle  of  those 
yellow  sheets  used  for  telegraphic  despatches. 

'  We  have  here,'  he  said,  *  an  otlicialcopy,  giving  word  for  word, 
the  deeds  of  the  civil  status  of  M.  Annibal  and  Mi.ss  Claudia 
Palmeri.  A  complete  copy  which  proves,  my  dear  mad.iuj,  that 
you  are  neither  Countess  de  Moray,  nor  Duchess  de  San  Lucca,  nor 
Claiidia  Palmeri,  and  that  your  two  marriages,  contracted  under  a 
false  name,  are  null  and  void.' 

'  Who  am  I,  then  /  *  asked  the  young  woman,  with  the  arrogance 
of  despair. 

Sir  Elias  Drack,  more  and  more  gentlemanly,  answered  with  ex- 
rjuisite  grace  : 

'  You  are,  pretty  one,  a  splendid  girl,  the  glory  of  tho  suburbrt  of 
Naples,  called  by  her  right  name  Gorgon  !  You  are  both  sur- 
prised, undoubtedly,  to  hnd  me  so  well  informed.  It  is  quite 
natural,  however.  When  I  heard  this  name  of  Palmeri,  I  remem- 
bered that  I  had  something  to  do  with  people  of  that  nan>e,  and 
that  I  had  to  legalise,  in  my  <iuality  of  Italian  consul  at  Calcutta, 
certain  deeds  concerning  them.  To  make  sure  of  it,  I  telegraphed 
to  my  successor  in  India,  1  telrgraphed  to  the  authorities  at  Naples, 
and  I  have  gathered  all  the  information  I  have  just  had  the  honor 
to  acquaint  you  with.' 

'  So  wo  have  been  the  victims  of  low  intriguers  ! '  said  M.  do 
Moray. 

'  The  law  will  punish  them,'  answered  Elias  Drack,  '  and  I  am 
going ' 

'  Koger,'  said  Laura,  softly,  *  this  woman  has  been  called  the 
Countess  de  Moray.  Let  that  name,  although  unduly  borne,  be 
the  safeguard  of  the  one  it  was  entrusted  to.' 

'  What !  you  wish  it  !  But  think  it  was  she  who  made  me  doubt 
you?' 

'  If  I  meddled  with  other  people's  business,  which  I  have  never 
done  and  never  will  do,'  said  Mr.  Drack,  with  modesty,  '  I  would 
take  the  liberty  to  urge  you,  my  dear  count,  to  follow  the  advice 
of  the  countess.  It  being  well  understood,'  he  continued,  passing 
his  arm  through  that  of  the  Neapolitan,  in  order  to  prevent  all  de- 
sire of  flight,  if  by  chance  he  had  any,  '  it  being  well  understood 


222  A    MAUTYIt. 

that  before  their  dopartiire  those  two  uioo  young  puoplo  will  Hottlu 
certain  littlu  accounts  with  me. ' 

'  Certain  accounts  I '  asked  Annibal  and  Claudia  toj^ether. 

*  A  mere  nothing,'  said  the  consul.  '  A  simple  formality.  M. 
Annibal  will  ^ive  up  the  millions  of  M.  I'almeri.' 

'  The  millions  !  I !  never  ! '. 

'  Unless  ho  prefers  goinj,'  to  gaol,' continued  Sir  Elias  Drack,  with 
his  usual  calmiioss.  'These  millions  belong  t<>  the  ntate,  and  they 
will  return  to  it.  As  to  this  interesting  girl,  she  will  reco;4ni/,e  by 
a  deed  already  prepared  to  that  eflfect,  and  which  I  have  hero,  the 
false  quality  she  has  used  to  sign  her  two  deeds  of  marriage, 
and  thanks  to  her  avowal,  the  two  marriages  will  bo  made  void 
without  scandal.  Cumo,  sign  and  bo  quick  ! '  insisted  for  the  last 
time  the  mischievous  old  man,  handing  to  Gorgon  a  pen  which  was 
on  the  table. 

The  Italian  took  the  pen  ;  but  before  signing  her  own  condemna- 
tion, she  looked  at  M.  do  Moray.  At  this  moment  Roger  was  hold- 
ing Laura's  hands,  and  did  not  seem  to  remember  that  another 
woman  had  ever  crossed  his  life.  Gorgon  did  not  hesitate  any 
longer. 

*  And  if  I  sign  this,'  she  asked  of  Sir  Elias  Drack,  *  will  you  let 
me  go  ? ' 

*  With  ten  thousand  francs  to  pay  your  expenses,'  answered  the 
old  consul  graciously. 

She  leaned  on  the  table  and  wrote  a  single  word  at  the  bottom  of 
the  paper  :  Gorgon,  simply.  Then,  without  adding  a  word  she 
went  out  of  the  house,  and  on  that  evening  she  left  for  Italy  with 
Annibal,  hardly  wealthier  than  on  the  day  they  had  come.  But 
they  were  free,  and  very  happy  to  be  so. 

The  false  Annibal  and  the  false  Claudia  had  hardly  left  the  man- 
sion, in  company  with  Sir  Elias  Drack,  to  settle  the  famous  little 
accounts,  when  M.  de  Moray  went  towards  the  room  where  a  few 
friends  liad  gathered.  They  were  to  be  the  witnesses  of  the  marriage 
of  poor  Paulette  with  the  Italian. 

*  Come,  gentlemen,  come  all  ! '  cried  Roger,  *  I  have  solemn  and 
happy  things  to  tell  you.' 

Ten  or  twelve  persons  answered  his  appeal.  At  the  same  moment 
appeared  also  the  admiral,  who,  having  learnt  of  the  presence  of  his 
wife  and  daughter  at  the  mansion,  had  hurried  thither.  The  reader 
can  judge  of  the  astonishment  produced  by  the  sight  of  Laura,  her 
face  radiant,  leaning  on  the  arm  of  M.  de  Moray. 

*  What  does  this  mean  ? '  asked  the  old  sailor,  stupefied. 
Roger  answered  gravely,  and  deeply  moved. 

'  M.  de  la  Marche,  and  you,  gentlemen,'  ho  said,  *  I  am  glad  of 
your   presence,   which  allows  me  to  publicly   make  a  great  act  of 


A    MARTYR.  223 

roparatioii.  Sho  who  is  by  my  Rule,  Hiid  whom  I  ropudiatod  un- 
justly, han  uoviir  uuasod  to  be  a  model  of  honor  and  virtue.  1  ren- 
der this  homage  to  her  before  you  all,  and  I  aocuae  mynulf  before 
her  and  before  you  of  the  itijurious  auspiciona  of  which  I  have  been 
guilty.  I  had  been  led  to  anapicit;]),  even  to  murder,  by  wretched 
adventurers.  I  wont  so  far  as  to  give  to  an  unworthy  woman  the 
name  and  place  of  her  who  desorvea  my  veneration  and  youra. 
Happily,  the  luarriago  1  have  contracted  with  the  intriguer  is  null 
ana  void.  A  judgment  will  declare  it  so  in  a  few  days.  So  I  will 
regain  my  freedom  again.  Thanks  to  the  now  law,  divorced  couples 
are  allowed  to  contract  between  thomaolvoa  a  now  marriage.  Gen- 
tlemen, be  all  witnesses  of  the  repentance  I  feel  for  tho  evil  I  have 
catised  ;  be  witnoHsos  to  my  sorrow  and  remorse  !  ' 

Then  turning  to  Laura,  who  was  listening  to  his  words,  her  eyes 
full  of  tears,  he  bended  the  knee. 

'  Laura,'  he  asked,  *  will  you  allow  me  to  redeem,  by  a  whole  life 
of  devotion  and  lovo,  tho  tortures  I  have  inflcted  on  you  1 ' 

For  an  answer  the  generous  woman  opened  her  arms. 

'  But  to  rehabilitate  my  daughter  thus,'  said  in  a  low  voice  tho 
old  admiral  to  M.  do  Moray,  *  what  proof  have  you  of  her  inno- 
cence i  ' 

At  these  words,  Laura,  trembling  with  fright,  looked  at  her 
mother.  Mme.  do  la  Marcho  was  livid.  Tho  noble  Martyr  devoted 
herself  once  more. 

*  Father,'  she  murmured,  '  what  proof  could  I  give,  alas  !  The 
generous  compassion  of  my  husband  rehabilitates  me  in  the  eyes  of 
the  world  ;  but  in  reality  he  does  not  justify  me  ;  ho  forgives  me  !  * 

Once  more  she  had  saved  her  mother  and  the  old  admiral. 

Some  time  after,  M.  de  Moray,  invested  anew  with  tho  high  sit- 
uation he  used  to  occupy,  and  accompanied  by  all  his  family,  was 
returning  to  India,  where  M.  Gaston  de  Vallioros  married  Paulotte. 
On  the  very  morning  of  tho  celebration  of  the  marriage,  a  man  re- 
cently disembarked  appeared  in  tho  uniform  of  a  consul  before  Pau- 
lotte. 

'  Sir  Elias  Drack  ! '  sho  cried,  filled  with  joy  and  surprise. 

*  Myself,'  he  answered. 

*  But  how  does  it  come  ? ' 

*  Had  not  I  promised  I  would  be  one  of  the  witnesses  of  your  mar- 
riage, Miss  Paulotte  ? ' 

*■  That's  true.     But  then  you  will  stay  here  some  time,  with  us  ? ' 
'  Some  time,  no,  miss,  no.' 

*  How  V 

*  T  have  had  the  ai?poJii*i\ivnt  .of  Eubidh,  Consul  ;at;  Tondich^ry, 
and  I  will  remain  hoite^-Hhfrttis.*:  '<■    I  ;;    :'l\'  '  ,»  i   t  y 


224  A   MARTYR. 

At  tho  cathudral  whoro  wm  celohratod,  a  fuw  ininuteii  after,  the 
niarriat^e  nf  I'aiilotto,  a  woiuan  was  praying  by  her  sido,  hur  soul 
intoxicated  with  hanpiiioss.  It  was  L-iiira.  Even  while  living;  she 
had  received  the  palms  of  Martyrdom,  and  (io<l  permitted  her  to 
know  on  this  earth,  luttween  tho  mother,  tho  husband,  and  the 
daughter  she  adored,  the  secret  of  celestial  joys. 


Tub  End. 


\ 


•      •»■•«>. 

•   <     •♦'•to*       .1         '         ".l*     »<^»<     '.'U. 


I »  •        •  4  » 
•         .A'